Arm band

DATE:
19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Gold, pearls and ruby
CLASSIFICATION:
Jewelry
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 4 5/8 x 2 9/16 x 3 in. (11.748 x 6.51 x 7.62 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
303 ISLAMIC GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alconda-Owsley Foundation
OBJECT NUMBER:
1996.218

General Description

This elaborate armband from Thanjavur was associated with jewelry worn by practitioners of Bharatanatyam, a classical south Indian dance form that originated in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was originally performed in temples by highly trained and educated women who served the deity and thus did not marry. Performers wore elaborate costumes and jewelry that reflected the wealth of the temple to which they belonged.

This arm band with mythical beasts, birds, and floral forms rendered in a high relief repoussé would have sparkled as the dancer made her many elaborate hand and arm gestures in homage to the deities.

Adapted from

  • Catherine Asher, "Arm band" in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 138.