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Traditional Jewelry of India

Oppi Untracht

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Presents one of the world's greatest jewelry traditions, alongside the rich cultural heritage of India


The triumphant result of more than 35 years of research, this sumptuous book is a comprehensive presentation of one of the greatest of the world's jewelry traditions.

The stunning display of individual ornaments is supplemented by full documentation of hundreds of pieces. More than 5,000 years of the development of personal ornament are traced, as major themes, variations on basic forms, the use of gemstones, and cross-cultural influences are analysed and comprehensively illustrated.

Alongside form and technique, the influences of myth and religion, social structure, economics and politics illuminate the context in which jewelry of exquisite beauty and great originality has been created.

The more than 800 illustrations are drawn from sources all over the world. Exquisite photographs of individual ornaments are juxtaposed with others showing how they are made, who wears them and on what occasions. Revealing line drawings depict traditional design forms and techniques.

Complete with a comprehensive bibliography and an invaluable list of comparative vernacular terms for Indian jewelers’ tools and materials, this encyclopaedic and beautiful volume will be essential for anyone with an interest in jewelry, ornament or the rich cultural heritage of India.

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'An excellent sourcebook for jewelry and silversmithing students'
Antiques Bulletin

'Unrivalled in its scope'
Birmingham Post

'The most comprehensive work in its field … superlative'
Asian Affairs

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 28.5 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 432 pp

Illustrations: 870

Publication date: 15 September 2008

ISBN: 9780500287491

Contents List

Preface • 1. Origins: Early Ornament • 2. Formulating the Indian Jewelry Tradition • 3. Indian Jewelry Typology: From Head to Toe • 4. Gold and Silver: Makers’ Means, Users’ Obsession • 5. Gemstones • 6. The Mughal Jewelry Tradition • 7. Euro-Indian and Indo-European Jewelry: A Cross-Cultural Exchange • Epilogue • Traditional Indian Jewelers’ Tools and Materials: Vernacular Terms

About the Author

Oppi Untracht lives in Finland and lectures and writes regularly on traditional Indian jewelry and culture.