Lot 58

Stylised as a bird with colourless sapphires and green enamel on gold, the bird has ruby cabochons as its eyes and suspends a pearl tassel at the bottom and an emerald bead from its beak. Above the bird is a stylised flower set with colourless sapphires.

Gross weight: 49.79 grams

The turban has always been an especially potent symbol of manhood and dignity in Indian culture. For royalty, it was an expression of political power and stature, augmented by elaborately designed pieces of jewellery, usually made of gemstones and feather plumes. "Chief among several kinds of ornaments used to decorate the turban are the sarpech, the kalgi, the sarpatti and the turra. According to Mughal sumptuary laws, these ornaments could only be worn by royalty, blood relatives of a chief, and honored individuals, the latter generally being nobility or high officials. They acquired special importance as symbols of hierarchical power." (Oppi Untracht, Traditional Jewelry of India, London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1997, p. 381)

While the sarpech was affixed to the front of the turban, the turra was attached to the side. As seen in the present lot, the turra was often in the shape of a bird, with a cluster of pearls forming a tassel suspended below. In the Mughal attire seen in early miniature paintings, the tassel was completed by an emerald bead and a small gold thread. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Indian maharajas were photographed wearing turbans adorned by elaborately designed tassels.

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  Lot 58 of 174  

15-16 OCTOBER 2019

$3,575 - 6,430
Rs 2,50,000 - 4,50,000

Winning Bid
Rs 2,87,500
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


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