Pair of Nilgiri Earrings

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 2

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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    late 19th-early 20th century
  • Geography

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Material

    Gold sheet metal
  • Dimension

    H x W: 9.2 x 5.9 cm (3 5/8 x 2 5/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    A pair of gold earrings composed of various geometric elements, including spheres, circles, cones, arches and trefoils. The shapes are made of sheet metal, attached with solder and have flat, fairly polished surfaces.
  • Provenance

    Mallett at Bourdon House Limited (J. S. Yorke), London, England, method of acquisition unknown [1]
    From 1990
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mallett at Bourdon House Limited [2]
    [1] See Mallett at Bourdon House “Statement” to the Freer Gallery of Art, dated March 30, 1990, copy in object file. Object is listed under invoice number BH19378, originally issued on January 29, 1990.
    Mr. J. S. Yorke, the Director of Mallet at Bourdon House Limited, shipped the earrings to his friend Giles Hutchinson-Smith of Fleming and Meers, Antique Dealers, located at Hamilton Court, 1228 31st St NW in Washington, DC. See letter from J. S. Yorke, Director, Mallett at Bourdon House Limited, to Carol Bolon, Curator, dated January 4, 1990, copy in object file. Giles Hutchinson-Smith then hand delivered the earring to the Freer Gallery of Art on January 8, 1990. See letter from Bruce Young, Registrar, to J. S. Yorke, dated January 8, 1990, copy in object file.
    Mallett at Bourdon House Limited was a dealer in Mayfair neighborhood of London. Established in 1962, Mallett at Bourdon House was associated with Mallett & Son Antiques (1865-2017) in London. Mallett at Bourdon House specialized in antique furniture, fine art, and accessories from Europe; however, they also sold Chinese ceramics, Chinese and Japanese lacquer, and Indian jewelry. The business closed in 2007 and some of the remaining stock was sold at Sotheby’s in March 2007.
    [2] See Freer Gallery of Art “Acquisition Consideration Form,” approved on March 21, 1990, copy in object file.
    Research updated March 8, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Body Image (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    Gold: The Asian Touch (September 10, 2005 to February 20, 2006)
    South and South East Asian Art (May 9, 1993 to February 7, 2000)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Mallett at Bourdon House Limited (1962-2007)
  • Origin

    Tamil Nadu state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — funds provided by Rajinder K. Keith and Narinder K. Keith
  • Type

    Jewelry and Ornament
  • On View

    Freer Gallery 01: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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