Rare jewels from India’s past rulers on display at New York museum

Rare jewels from India’s past rulers on display at New York museum
Press preview of exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

About 60 jewelled items, including a gem-encrusted gold tiger head belonging to 18th-century Indian ruler Tipu Sultan went on display on Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The artefacts are from the private collection of Qatar's Sheikh Hamad Abdullah Al-Thani and are being displayed at the museum for the "Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection" exhibition till Jan 25.

The exhibition showcases works from the Mughal period in the 17th century and from various courts of the 18th and 19th centuries, Indian news agency Press Trust of India reported.

A highlight of the exhibition, made possible by iconic jewellery designer and manufacturer Cartier, is the tiger head originally from the throne of Tipu Sultan, and which has diamonds, rubies and emeralds encrusted on it.

Tipu Sultan was the ruler of the kingdom of Mysore, which is now part of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The capital of this state is Bangalore - one of the biggest IT hubs in India today.


Among the Mughal artefacts on display is a jade dagger originally owned by two emperors.

The artefact was made for Jahangir and it was re-bladed for his son, Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

And in the 19th century, the dagger was in the collection of Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse code.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art said the presentation provides a glimpse into the evolving styles of the jewelled arts in India from the Mughal period until the early 20th century, with emphasis on exchanges with the West.

"It is with great delight that we present to the public this selection of works representing several centuries of tradition and craftsmanship in the jewelled arts from India's Mughal workshops to the ateliers of Paris," museum director and chief executive Thomas Campbell was quoted as saying.

This article was first published on Oct 30, 2014.
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