Brooch Decorated in the Thewa Technique

Object Name: Brooch

Date: 19th century

Geography: Made in India, Rajasthan, Pratapgarh

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Pierced gold foil over glass (thewa work); with beads and filigree

Dimensions: H. 2 in.. (5.1 cm)
W. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm)

Classification: Jewelry

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry G. Friedman, 1953

Accession Number: 53.167


This piece, now a brooch, was originally part of a gold armband, where it formed the center of three similar elements. The technique used to create it, in which a hunting scene carved in gold overlays a transparent emerald green surface, seems limited to a group of enamels associated with Partabgarh, in northwest India. Extant pieces of this type all appear to have been made in the nineteenth century, although the technique – which has been used also for larger objects, such as boxes and trays, and in other colors, such as red and amber – may have existed earlier. The spiky, hollow balls that surround the central oval echo an ancient form in which closely packed conical (rather than the more common spherical) elements project outward to give a hedgehoglike effect: the parallel between this technique and that used in goldwork of the second century B.C. is striking.