Gold Talismanic Upper Armband (Bazuband) Northern India or Persia 18th-19th century
height of plaque: 6.5cm, width: 5.4cm, weight: 15g (including tassels)
This solid gold upper armband or bazuband with attached silk cord is finely etched with talismanic and other protective devices. On the front, the plaque is finely inscribed with various borders and panels of Arabic script around a central talismanic rectangle engraved with small squares of magic numbers.
The numbers, in Arabic, read as:
And among the inscribed words are some of the various names of God. The reverse of the plaque is engraved with a roundel of many lines of Koranic quotations.
The front also is engraved with two courtly figures in Persian dress. This might suggest Persian origins. Equally the origins might be North Indian or Kashmiri where Persian forms and motifs frequently were employed in artforms.
Bazuband plaques such as these were worn as magical protective devices on the upper arms, perhaps into battle or when travelling.
This example is particularly fine and rare. Few gold examples have survived; most presumably have been melted down for their gold content.
Provenance: UK art market
References: Keane, M., Treasury of the World: Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals - The Al-Sabah Collection Kuwait National Museum, Thames & Hudson, 2001.