Garland of berries

Historical period(s)
late 19th-early 20th century
Gold, double berries, silver, diamonds and rubies
H x W (overall): 10.6 x 6.8 cm (4 3/16 x 2 11/16 in)
India, Tamil Nadu state
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork


India, Nandi, Parvati, Shiva
Provenance research underway.

This sumptuous garland features double rudraksha seeds from the utrasam tree (Eleocarpus ganitrus), sacred to the Hindu god Shiva, alternating with gold spacer beads. Its elaborate clasp contains a tiny figure of the goddess Parvati and the strands terminate in a gold image of the bull Nandi, Shiva's vehicle. A large pendant gold casket, empty today, most likely contained a small portable linga (an abstract symbol of the god Shiva), perhaps of crystal or gold, as well as sacred ashes.

Published References
  • Dr. Carol R. Bolon, Amita Sarin. Metaphors in Gold: The Jewelry of India. vol. 6, no. 4 New York, Fall 1993. pp. 10-12, fig. 1.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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