India

In pictures: Rare India jewels at New York museum

A show presenting some 60 jewelled objects of India from a private collection is opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on Tuesday.

The exhibition - Treasures from India - is from the collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani and provides a glimpse into the evolving styles of the jewelled arts in India from the Mughal period until the early 20th Century, with emphasis on the later exchanges with the West, according to a statement by the museum.

Museum director Thomas P Campbell says the works represent "several centuries of tradition and craftsmanship in the jewelled arts - from India's Mughal workshops to the ateliers of Paris".

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A highlight of the exhibition is the gem-encrusted tiger's head from the throne of Tipu Sultan, the Indian king famed for resisting British rule. The top of the head includes diamonds, rubies and emeralds in a kundan - a form of Indian gemstone jewellery - setting.

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The Mughal works on display include an elegant jade dagger. The hilt was made for emperor Jahangir and it was re-bladed for his son emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. The hilt features a miniature sculpture - a European style head.

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Also on view are several northern Indian turban ornaments from 1875-1900. The display traces their evolution from traditional plume-inspired forms and techniques towards Western shapes.

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Among the turban ornaments is a decorative pin with an emerald that would have been used in the turban of a king.

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Also on display are Mughal-era necklaces studded with precious gems.

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The display includes historical works from the Mughal period in the 17th Century and from various courts of the 18th and 19th centuries, and a group of jewels made for India's maharajahs by Cartier and other Western firms in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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