About this artwork
This ornament may have been given by King Pratapamalla (r. 1641–74), ruler of the Malla dynasty of Nepal, to Taleju Bhavani, the revered patron goddess of the old palace in Kathmandu and the chief protective deity of Nepal and its royal family. King Pratapamalla may also have worn this collar when he participated in rituals. This complex piece is composed of five principal strands and bears the inscription: “Victory to the Mother-Goddess [Bhagavati devi Janani]. Hail! [This] is the necklace of the king of kings, lord of kings, lord of the poets, the victorious Pratapamalladeva (may it be) auspicious!”
The two innermost strands resemble rudraksha beads, made from the seeds of a large evergreen tree whose berries are commonly made into rosaries of 108 beads. Such prayer beads are most often worn by Shaivite ascetics, either around the neck or woven into their topknots. The third and fourth strands consist of tubular forms in a crescent shape known as hansuli. Each terminates in elaborate clasps, with the inner strand attached to a central amulet case. The outermost ring contains thirteen images of deities, including roundels of the eight mothers (ashtamatrikas), each depicted as the goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon (Mahishasura). As this necklace was a royal commission, the finest Newari artists would have crafted it.
- Necklace Inscribed with the Name of King Pratapamalladeva
- Kathmandu Valley (Object made in)
- Gilt copper with semiprecious stones
- 36.2 × 35.6 × 8.9 cm (14 1/4 × 14 × 3 1/2 in.)
- Gift of the Alsdorf Foundation