Enquiry about object: 5538

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    Indian Parcel-Gilded Silver Perfume Comb

    India, probably Mysore, Karnataka
    19th century

    width: 6.6cm, height: 5cm, weight: 52g

    Available - Enquire


    private collection, UK; Christie's South Kensington, April, 2004.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This fine comb of silver and gold overlay is most probably from Mysore in south India – it has elements in its construction which are very similar to published combs that almost certainly are from Mysore.

    It would have been used to keep an elaborate coiffure in place and as such can be considered as an item of jewellery as much as being a utilitarian piece.

    ItIt has a tapering form and is surmounted by a pair of long-tailed birds which peck at the screw finial between them. This unscrews (clockwise) to allow the body of the comb to be filled with perfume which would be slowly released into the hair via tiny holes between the teeth of the comb.

    Both sides of the comb are engraved with floral borders around a central section overlaid with gold.

    The comb is in excellent condition, and with ample signs of age and use.


    Aitken, M.E., When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, Asia Society & Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004.

    Bala Krishnan, U.R., & M.S. Kumar, Dance of the Peacock: Jewellery Traditions of India, India Book House Ltd, 1999.

    Bala Krishnan, U.R. et alIcons in Gold: Jewelry of India from the Collection of the Musee Barbier-Mueller, Somogy, 2005.

    Borel, F., The Splendour of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels Collection, Thames & Hudson, 1994.

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