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Silver & Turquoise Dress Clasp
Himachal Pradesh, Himalayan India
late 19th century
height: 11.5cm, width: 10.8cm, weight: 92g
This distinct type of cloak fastener or fibula is from the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh. It is made of silver that has been chased with geometric
motifs. Two bosses decorated with lotus petals are inset with green turquoise cabochons.
According to Untracht (1997, p. 139), the three circular forms of the clasp symbolise the three gems of Buddhism. Lotus forms set with gems are an allusion to
the Tibetan mantra or dharani, 'om mani padme hom' ('hail to the jewel in the lotus', ie Avalokiteshvara).
See Untracht (1997, p. 138) and Clarke (2004, p. 100) for illustrated examples.
The example here is in fine condition. Its contours have been softened by wear.
Clarke, J., Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas, V&A Publications, 2004.
Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.
Provenance: UK art market
Inventory no.: 3095
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