Large Temple Gold Pendant

This spectacular, large gold pendant would have been commissioned for presentation to a south Indian temple to adorn a Hindu statue during a temple festival. It is set with 24 large freshwater pearls, 17 rudraksha beads, four larger cabochon rubies and twelve beaded rubies, and seven sandalwood spheres. The reverse is of plain, sheet gold. The top of the pendant has three loops to allow it to be suspended.The structure of the pendant is that of a shrine, with the arched upper section, bordered by pearls and rudraksha beads, enclosing a yoni and lingam marked out in gold and decorated with a central lapis cabochon to form the lingam and with rubies decorating the yoni. The lingam is surrounded by a floral spray formed of flat gold segments.The lingam-yoni ensemble sits on a triple tiered platform comprising a row of sandalwood spheres; a row of freshwater pearls; and a row of rudraksha beads; each of which are drilled and secured with gold wire and with floral-form capped finials. The use of pearls and precious stones with rudraksha seeds in temple jewellery is unusual and rare. The rudraksha seed is the stone of the fruit of the utrasam tree and is believed to be sacred to Shiva. The name 'rudraksha' means 'eye of Rudra', an ancient name for Shiva. The seeds are made into beads and then worn as rosaries, necklaces and bracelets by Shaivite devotees and priests.

18th - 19th century
South India
Object size: 42.0 x 7.0 x 0.5 cm
Accession No.
Gold set with Rubies, Lapis, Pearls, Sandalwood Beads & Rudraksha Seeds
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre