Pair of Armbands (Bazubands) (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th century
gold, enamel, colorless saphires, quartz, gold foil, bedding material, resinous material, solder
India,Rajasthan,probably Jaipur,
Overall: 1 3/4 × 4 1/4 in. (4.45 × 10.8 cm)
A standard adornment throughout the Mughal period, the bazuband is an armlet worn by both men and women. Cords strung through the pierced flanges on the ends of these lavish examples were used to tie them to the upper arm. Their outer surfaces are set with colorless sapphires and quartz, back by gold foil and covered with orange resin. Though not visible when worn, their backs are extravagantly enameled with flower and parrot patterns in jewel-like colors on a white ground. The central gems on their fronts are engraved with Arabic verses invoking the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate family, who were highly revered by Muslims and especially by members of the Shia sect. More than beautiful objects, such inscribed gemstones were valued as amulets that protected the wearer. The enamelwork of these bazubands suggests they were made in Jaipur, but similar armbands have been assigned to Lahore in modern-day Pakistan.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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