Indian temple treasures to be sold by Bonhams

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2015-06-26 11:04:26

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Indian temple treasures to be sold by Bonhams

22 Jun 2012, 10:55 GMT+01

A cache of Indian temple jewellery of gold, diamonds and rubies, found in Spain, will be sold by Bonhams through private treaty.

The jewellery was made to honour the Hindu deities. Stored in a temple treasury, they would have been brought out on festive occasions to adorn icons of Shiva, Krishna, Nandi and others. The relationship of these pieces with Hindu worship and Indian culture is vastly significant.

Hindu gods enter statues or images to make themselves present to worshippers. As a result they require food, cleansing, dressing, entertainment. Therefore gifts to these statues, such as food, flowers, and these beautiful treasures of gold and jewels are a necessity and an age-old practice. The gifts sustain the gods and generate merit and good fortune for the giver. The gifts of jewellery and clothing are kept in a treasury, and the icons are decorated with them on special occasions.

The twenty-eight piece collection includes necklaces, earrings, brooches, pendants, hair braids and jadai nagams, decorative armour, and solid gold and jewelled bulls, from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The gold is of a quality far superior to that commonly used in the Western world, the pieces beautifully crafted. Some objects have traces of red paste confirming their use in personal devotion.

A single passionate collector amassed this collection in Spain. It is expected to fetch between £300,000 and £400,000. This private sale presents a chance to own stunningly crafted centuries-old pieces, the gold and jewellery of the gods, no less.

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