Indian Woman’s Kibla Compass Shaped as a Gold Mango Pendant

The mango is a common motif in Indian jewellery (see Aitken, 2004, p, 130 for an example.) It is associated with fertility and femininity with its suggestive curvaceousness. Usually the mango form serves as a bead or as a small scent or vermilion container.But this is the only example we are aware of in which the contents are a tiny compass. It seems likely that it was made for a Muslim woman in South India as a small, private kilbla compass.The mango is hinged on one side and the cover opens to reveal a tiny needle, beneath glass, in the shape of a flying bird.The exterior of the mango is engraved with mihrab-like cartouches and a petal form over the cover.The top is fitted with a tiny gold loop to allow suspension.

19th century
South India
Object size: 2.0 x 1.0 x 1.0 cm
Accession No.
gold (metal)
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre