View full screen - View 1 of Lot 216. A gem-set gold bird-form pendant, India, probably Deccan, 19th century.
216

A gem-set gold bird-form pendant, India, probably Deccan, 19th century

A gem-set gold bird-form pendant, India, probably Deccan, 19th century

A gem-set gold bird-form pendant, India, probably Deccan, 19th century

rendered in the form of a bird with outstretched wings and tail feathers, the breast mounted with a diamond medallion, gold body and neck set with cabochon gemstones, the beak with drop pendant pearl, wings and tail feathers with attached gems, string for fastening


bird: 7.5 by 6.5cm. 

The pendant in good overall condition, with some oxidisation and dirt encrustation in interstices, the stones foil-backed, some with cracks in stones, not tested, the pendant stones from wings and cord for fastening probably later, as viewed.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Ex-collection Princess Bamba Duleep Singh, Lahore, 1940s.
Purchased directly from the family of the above, by descent, U.K.
Pendants shaped as birds with outstretched wings appear in Spain, North Africa and India. The present example with its gem-set decoration would have been made for the Mughal or Deccani court as part of the centrepice of a necklace. A gem-set bird of similar quality and size is in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London, inv. no.JLY 2151 (Carvalho 2010, cat.20, pp.76-77). 

Gems were highly prized within the Mughal and Deccani courts and stones were passed down from generation to generation. In the Tuzuk-i Jahangiri Jahangir presents a ruby with two pearls to his son Shah Jahan: "On this day I made a present to my son Shah Jahan of a ruby of one colour, weighing 9 tanks and 5 surkh, of the value of 125,000 rupees, with two pearls. This is the ruby which was given to my father at the time of my birth by Hazrat Maryammakani, mother of H.M. Akbar, by way of present when my face was shown, and was for many years in his sarpech. Apart from its value and delicacy, as it had come down as of auspicious augury to the everlasting State, it was bestowed on my son." (Rogers and Beveridge 1968, p.409).

Abu'l-Fazl (Ain-i Akbari, vol III, p.16) mentions that the gems in the treasury were stored according to weight with emeralds coming first followed by rubies, diamonds, pearls and sapphires. Rubies and emeralds were often left en cabochon, in the form in which they were naturally found as retention of weight was an important factor in the fashioning of gems for the court.