India; Mughal, c. 1575–1625

Baroque pearl, gold set with rubies, emeralds, sapphires, glass, enamel, on a lac core

H. 6.6cm; W. 5.2cm; D. 3cm

This pendant, in the form of a figure modelled around a baroque pearl, represents a fine example of the dialogue between Italy and India in the jewelled arts at the time of the Renaissance. Using gems in Indian kundan settings, the pendant may have been made by a European goldsmith working in India. The figure may be a snake god, Nagadevata. The Nagas were semi-divine, with a human face and the neck of a cobra. The large pearl came to India through trade, either from the Pacific Ocean or from waters off the coast of America. The composition of the pendant is directly inspired by 16th-century Italian prototypes and reflects Mughal interests in the arts of the West.

© The Al Thani Collection

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