Mughal-era jewels to go on display at New York exhibit

About 60 jeweled items, including a gem-set tiger head finial originally from Tipu Sultan's throne and a jade dagger owned by Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, will be displayed next week at an exhibition at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art here.

PTI| Updated: Oct 24, 2014, 22:50 PM IST

 New York: About 60 jeweled items, including a gem-set tiger head finial originally from Tipu Sultan's throne and a jade dagger owned by Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, will be displayed next week at an exhibition at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art here.

The objects are from the private collection formed by Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani and will be presented at the museum in the exhibition 'Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection' opening October 28 till January 25.

The display will include historical works from the Mughal period in the 17th century and from various courts and centres of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Hyderabad.

A highlight of the exhibition, made possible by iconic jewellery designer and manufacturer Cartier, would be a gem-set tiger head finial originally from the throne of Tipu Sultan that incorporated numerous cabochon diamonds, rubies and emeralds in a kundan setting.

Among the Mughal works will be a jade dagger -- originally owned by two emperors ?- the hilt was made for Jahangir and it was re-bladed for his son Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

In the 19th century, the dagger was in the collection Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse code.

The museum said the presentation will provide a glimpse into the evolving styles of the jeweled arts in India from the Mughal period until the early 20th century, with emphasis on later exchanges with the West.

The exhibition would be shown within the Metropolitan Museum's Islamic art galleries, adjacent to the Museum's own collection of Mughal-period art.

"It is with great delight that we present to the public this selection of works representing several centuries of tradition and craftsmanship in the jeweled arts from India's Mughal workshops to the ateliers of Paris," Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum Thomas Campbell said.

Among the exhibits is a group of late 19th and 20th century jewels made for India's Maharajas by Cartier and other Western firms.

On view will be several antique gems that were

incorporated into modern settings by Maison Cartier and jewelry designer Paul Iribe, as well as several examples of North Indian sarpesh and jigha (turban ornaments) from 1875?1900, brought together in a display that traces their evolution from traditional plume-inspired forms and techniques toward more Western shapes and construction.

The exhibit would include a work designed by the artist Iribe and made by goldsmith Robert Linzeler in 1910 in Paris which recalls the kind of aigrette (decorative pin) that would have ornamented the turban of a Maharaja or Nizam.

The pin has a large emerald in the centre, carved in India between 1850 and 1900.

Hamad said the jeweled arts of India have fascinated him from an early age and "I have been fortunate to be able to assemble a meaningful collection that spans from the Mughal period to the present day."

The museum said India has been a vibrant center for the jeweled arts for many centuries, with its own mines yielding gold, diamonds and many other precious and semi-precious stones.

During the exhibition there will be a rendition of the Hindustani music and Odissi dance by renowned Indian artistes Kaushiki Chakrabarty, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy.