A gem-set and enamelled 'Makara' bracelet, kada Jaipur, North India, 19th century | 十九世紀 北印度齋浦爾 金嵌鑽石、紅寶摩羯首手鐲 內飾琺瑯彩穿花孔雀紋
Property from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter Collection 雪月藏亞洲藝術珍品
Property from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter Collection
A gem-set and enamelled 'Makara' bracelet, kada
Jaipur, North India, 19th century
十九世紀 北印度齋浦爾 金嵌鑽石、紅寶摩羯首手鐲 內飾琺瑯彩穿花孔雀紋
the kada bangle rendered in the form of two confronting Makara heads with onyx eyes, the exterior set with rubies and diamonds arranged in a floral spray, the gems set in the kundan technique against a green enamel ground, the interior exquisitely decorated with pairs of peacocks within a floral design on an enamelled ground of white picked out in red, green and touches of bright blue
6.1 cm, 74.6 grams
In good overall condition. Enamel bright. Foil-backed stones to enhance colour. One ruby on the Makara's collar has fallen. Some very minor wear, consistent with age and use, as viewed.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
In the late 16th century, Mughal court goldsmiths ingeniously combined enamelling with the kundan setting technique. This sophisticated art form came to India during the Mughal invasion and has been practised in India ever since. Such lavish ornamentation is evident in a kada bangle and a 'bird' ring in this collection.
In India, the art of enamelling is known as meenakari. The word meenakari means to place paradise onto an object. Jaipur artisans perfected this art form and developed their distinctive style. It is defined by the vivid red colour and the intricate designs enamelled on the back or inner surfaces of ornaments. The enamelled details remain unseen, adding hidden interest that only the wearer knew about.
In lot 1023, the inner surface of the kada bangle is exquisitely decorated with pairs of peacocks enamelled in vibrant shades of blue and green, against a floral design picked out in vivid red. While the reverse of the 'bird' ring (lot 1019) enamelled with a peacock in green, white, red and blue, echoing the front design and choice of gems - emerald, diamond and ruby.
These two pieces reveal that meenakari work requires a great deal of attention and precision. The craftsmen have to first engrave a complex design onto a small surface area, chisel off the grooves before filling in the tiny spaces with enamels. Meenakari adds greater artistic value to the piece and has a pragmatic reason behind it. It protects the high-karat gold from abrasion due to frequent skin contact, and gives the jewellery piece the rigidity necessary to keep its form.
Another known characteristic of Indian jewellery is the kundan setting technique. It is a process of setting gemstones with thin sheets of pure gold, or kundan. This sophisticated technique allows precious stones of any size or shape to be set directly into fragile enamelled surfaces.
Indian jewellery is renowned for the luxuriance of their artefacts, combined with designs of great complexity. They, such as the kada bangle, were considered objects of marvel; they were brought overseas and displayed in the Great International Exhibitions in the 1850s.
For a similar bangle, see one with a blue-enamelled ground, in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection, accession no. 119-1852 (https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O68463/jewellery-unknown/).