GOLD AND ENAMELLED NECKLACE
India, Jaipur/Nathdvara, 19th century
Length: 36 cm
Fine cord with three gold enameled fan-shaped pendants, two gold enamelled rectangular pendants and four gold enamelled drop-shaped pendants. A second fine cord with four gold enameled beads is attached to the cord with the pendants, ending on either side with a green glass pear-shaped drop.
All gold pendants depicting the red enamelled ‘Vishnupada’, footprints of Lord Vishnu, also show powder blue enamel, representing the primordial waters. Both drop-shaped pendants on either side of the center pendant are enameled in vegetable green sabz zamin enamel.
The translucent red lal zamin enamel side of five pendants are depicted with ‘Shrinathji, name of a form of Lord Krishna and written in Devangari script, surrounded by a dark blue enameled circle, floral and parrots theme in green and red enamel all on an opaque white ground. The remaining four drop-shaped pendants show a white and green floral design on a red enameled ground and a red and green enameled design on an opaque white enamel ground.
The pendants have alternately suspended rubies and garnets.
These pendants were worn by pelgrims and devotees who worship Shri Nathji and follow the teachings of a religious teacher named Vallabha (1479-1531) This sect emphasized salvation by the grace of God , whose highest form, they believed was Krishna, the eight incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu. The headquarters of the Vallabhacari is the Shri Nathji Mandira (temple) at Nathdwara in Rajasthan. This temple houses a black stone image of Krishna known as Shri Nathji.
Hendley, Thomas Holbein Indian Jewellery, ill. 212