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This beautiful, very refined and wearable necklace comprises a large central amulet pendant suspended on what is probably an original multi-strand, orange and red cord, along with twelve smaller silver boxes and two fine silver conical end beads.
The necklace is from Rajasthan and dates to the 19th century.
The amulet box is encased in sheet silver that has been finely engraved on the front. Two eyelets at the top allow for suspension. The sides and lower edge of the box have been cast with multiple silver granulations of emulate gajre work.
The front of the amulet has a coloured picture of Krishna and Radha in a Rajput-style cusped arch, and beneath a thin sheet of glass.
The reverse of the amulet is enclosed with plain sheet silver.
The accompanying twelve silver boxes are each suspended from the necklace with two eyelets decorated with a flower form.
Such a necklace most probably was acquired from the environs of a temple by a pilgrim and worn thereafter as a keepsake.
A related example of such an amulet is illustrated in Untracht (1997, p. 131).
Artists across Rajasthan produced miniature paintings from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, for pilgrims to temples. Many such paintings were incorporated into silver jewellery to provide adherents with a protective talisman that they could wear.
The necklace and components have a splendid patina; its contours have been worn smooth by wear, age and handling.
Bowers, J., ‘Talisman Garlands: Painted mala from Rajastan’, in TAASA Review, Volume 30, no. 3, September 2021.
Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.