Marriage necklace (chettiar thali)

Historical period(s)
late 19th-early 20th century
Gold, black cotton cordage
H (without yarn): 91.5 cm (36 in)
India, Tamil Nadu
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork

Marriage necklace

beaded wire, chasing, engraving, filigree, granulation, India, Lakshmi, marriage, repousse, swan, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Francois Rabier


This necklace, weighing roughly two pounds, was made for a bride of the Chettiar merchant community of Southern India. Its central pendant bears a repousse image of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Over half of an average Indian wedding's expenses is allocated for gold and those years deemed inauspicious for weddings are lean ones for goldsmiths. Gold is equated with light, immortality, purity, fortune, energy, the sun, and various deities in the Vedas (1200-900 B.C.E.), the sacred texts of ancient India. Its positive associations have endured over millennia. More gold circulates annually in India than in any other nation in the world.

Published References
  • Dr. Carol R. Bolon Amita Sarin. Metaphors in Gold: The Jewelry of India. vol. 6, no. 4 New York, Fall 1993. pp. 19-21, fig. 4.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum