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This large pendant shows a four-armed armed and crowned Vishnu. The body of the deity is marked out in gold wire and infilled with semi-precious stones. The deity’s face is of carved rock crystal. Vishnu sits on a lotus pedestal of turquoise pieces. The deity is surrounded by ruby (or similar) cabochons, as well as having similar stones as earrings and in his crown. Other stones include pale-green emeralds. The whole ensemble is against gilded hammered sheet silver or copper within pearled wire edging. Suspended from the lower edge of the pendant are beaded pearls and gilded metal disks (two are defficient).
Such a pendant was made either for the ear or perhaps the neck and possibly meant to decorate a statue if not an actual person.
A silver post with a screw rises from the reverse of the pendant, presumably to allow the pendant to be attached. A small ruby cabochon (or similar) decorates the reverse at the foot of the post.
It is a particularly fine example of Newar metalwork from the Kathmandu Valley. A related earring is in the British Museum. Another is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (see Clarke, 2004, p. 115). Another is illustrated in Ghose (2016, p. 80). Interestingly, such pendants sometimes are thought to be earrings but rarely do they turn up in pairs.
The metalwork includes pearled filigree wire which is a Newari trademark.
The piece is in fine condition.
Casey Singer, J., Gold Jewelry from Tibet and Nepal, Thames & Hudson, 1996.
Clarke, J., Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas, V&A Publications, 2004.
Ghose, M. (ed.), Vanishing Beauty: Asian Jewelry and Ritual Objects from the Barbara and David Kipper Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, 2016.