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Lecture and Luncheon: Love, Power, and Fashion—The Role of Gems and Jewels in Princely India

April 20, 2016
11:00AM1:00PM
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
$60 members of the Asian Art Council, Friends of Indian and Islamic Art, and Sustaining Fellows; $80 general public

Encounters with Asia: Masterpieces of Indian Art

Love, Power, and Fashion—The Role of Gems and Jewels in Princely India

Since antiquity, India has been known for its highly developed culture of jewelry, due in part to the subcontinent’s abundance of precious metals and gemstones—among them diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls. The availability of precious stones is reflected in the forms of jewelry that developed in India, where the entire body—from head to toe—was richly adorned. But Indian jewelry is more than just adornment. According to traditional Hindu astrology, gemstones were associated with particular planets and worn to enhance one's fortune and wellbeing. With this talk, Amin Jaffer discusses gems and jewels of the maharajas, exploring the culture of royal jewelry and its role in expressing power. He also looks at how royal taste changed with the rise of British power and the technical innovations in jewelry-making that arrived from the West, the Indian royal patronage of Western jewelry houses such as Cartier and Boucheron, and the aesthetic dialogue between Indian and European jewelry traditions.


Amin Jaffer is the international director of Asian Art at Christie’s. He joined Christie’s from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where he was both a senior curator and senior fundraiser. He is the author of the path-breaking volumes Furniture from British India and Ceylon (2001) and Made for Maharajas: A Design Diary of Princely India (2006) and is the co-editor of Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe: 1500-1800 (2004) and Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts (2009), which accompanied blockbuster exhibitions. He more recently edited Beyond Extravagance: A Royal Collection of Gems and Jewels (2013).

 

RSVP by contacting the Office of Sustaining Fellows at (312) 443-3735. Space is limited.

 

Encounters with Asia: Masterpieces of Indian Art is a lecture and luncheon series presented by the Asian Art Council, the Friends of Indian and Islamic Art, and the Sustaining Fellows of the Art Institute of Chicago that meets on Wednesdays in April.

 

Per person, per lecture: $60 members of the Asian Art Council, Friends of Indian and Islamic Art, and Sustaining Fellows, $80 general public

 

Affiliate Group: 

Buddha with Left Hand in Gesture of Gift Giving (Varadamudra), Chola period, 11th/12th century. Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India. Samuel Nickerson Fund.