Friday, 23 December 2011

Antique Ornaments and Jewellery at the V&A Museum

I visited the Victoria and Albert museum a while back, and of course, visited the South Asian continent exhibitions which always garners my interest. These lovely pieces caught my eye in the exhibitions, which were especially interesting as there were a lot of examples of the rich history of Asia. These beautifully made, ornaments and jewellery pieces from India are made from precious stones, gold and enamel that were, of course, made for the wealthy and aristocracy who could afford it. 

These are pendants and rings dating back as early as the 10th and 11th centuries, made from precious stones and very delicately crafted. The white pendant on the left, for example, is made from white jade mounted in enamelled gold, and embellished with rubies and emeralds. The rings are similarly, like the pendants, polished to shape and embellished with delicate stones and filigree metal, making very beautiful pieces.

The other noteworthy items which were on display were these Mughal-style turban ornaments, from 18th Century Jiapur. I love how beautifully crafted these pieces were, again made from white jade, set in gold and enamel, and with delicate, precious stones. I've rarely come across embellished pieced for turbans, except perhaps a few cases in Asian wedding outfits for grooms, and these certainly show how far back these kind of traditions date back to.

I'd definitely recommend a visit to the V&A (if you haven't already been!) to see how rich and diverse the exhibitions are, particularly as it covers various parts of Asia and Africa. It's also really interesting to see how far South Asian fashion, and culture, has changed and evolved over the years, and what remnants of these rich histories are left.

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