India, 20th century

SKU: 2006

The gold cuff bangle is decorated with filigree. This type of armlet was often worn in pairs by dancers at festival celebrations.

India’s rich, vital theatrical traditions, including classical and folk theatre, pure dance and dance drama, with their stage arts, costume and ornament crafts, continue to thrive in the specific locations, where each developed its unique visual and performance style. Theatrical themes are pan-Indian, often based on episodes in the major Indian epics, for example the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, whose subjects are religious and the pure-dance Nritya, which is secular. Besides affording pleasure, these theatrical forms educate and perpetuate ideal Hindu cultural values. Traditional drama and dance is performed publicly on temporary stages during lunar holidays, seasons sacred to a divinity, religious festivals or privately at the time of a marriage or in celebration of the birth of a son.

It is not unusual for the ornaments worn by a dancer or actor to be made of genuine precious metal and gemstones. 

Filigree work in India is called by the Persian term tarkashi kan (tar means wire, tarkash is wire drawer). In this delicate, time-consuming style of metalwork, jewelry is made entirely from gold or silver wire of high standard. Wire has long been used in jewelry throughout India as it is one of the basic forms of metal available to the jeweler. Filigree work, like many other jewelry making processes in India, has always been a technology of specialization. Involved in its production are wire drawers, wire twisters, filigree object fabricators, solderes and polishers. 


Untracht, Oppi Traditional Jewelry of India, page 196-197 & 256 ill. 592

Catalogue V&A Museum A Golden Treasury, ill. 87

Catalogue Gioielli dall ‘India; dai Moghul al Novecento, page 124

Hendly, Thomas Holbein Indian Jewellery, ill. 441