India, Uttar Pradesh, early 20th century

Length: 6,9cm
SKU: 2140

Gold ear pendants, tungal, ornamented with granulation, twisted gold wire and stamped units in a floral pattern. These ear pendants were worn in the helix of the ear by older married women, and given for marriage from the prospective husband’s side. With tungal an almost identically shaped nose-ring is worn in the septum. It is removed upon widowed. The shape of tungal resembles a pipal leaf. Gold tungal were specially ordered before festivals.

In many different designs distinguishing various species, the flower is in fact the ultimate symbol for femininity and fertility – the female pudendum, the womb, and the birth-giver. The color red also symbolizes fertility, but it symbolizes life as well. Therefore red stones are often mounted in jewellery with flower motifs.

The manufacture of tiny, solid gold balls in small sizes, called granules (or rawa), is a natural outcome of metallurgical and thermal principles. When enough heat is applied to a small amount of gold, it liquefies. At this point, due to the cohesive force of surface tension, the metal will automatically draw itself into a form having the smallest possible surface area, which is a round, a solid ball. The granulation process consists of fixing the granules to the base metal of the object and to each other by a form of fusion welding, without the use of solder.

Ganguly, Waltraud Earring: Ornamental Identity and Beauty in India pg 256
Untracht, Oppi Traditional Jewelry of India ill 459
Cutsem, Anne van Welt der Ohrringe, ill p 128