Of the total twenty-four strands twelve radiate from the pendant’s right, and other twelve, from its left. Each of the pendant’s two sides provides for six connecting loops, one loop designed to hold two strands. Similarly, each of the two upwards tapering terminals on the top has just three hooks to hold twelve strands, that is, each to hold four. In its rise every strand ends with a series of five silver beads of the size of a mustard seed; however, even these tiny forms, by graded size-variations and two each in the unit of five being anodized in purple, not only afford to strands a pleasant conjunction but also create great rhythmic effects. So managed – gathered and supported on both ends, the lower and the upper, the middle section of the necklace or strands automatically inflates, and when actually worn, its flare is bound to scatter correspondingly over the larger part of the wearer’s breasts’ region. Thus, irrespective of whether the pendant slips into the wearer’s mid-breasts region or mount over them, the necklace has been so designed that its flared middle shall not fail to scatter its splendour over the breasts’ visible upper.
Ingeniously conceived and elaborately cast this necklace’s semi-circular crescent pendant is its most distinguished component. This form of pendant is one of its most popular styles prevalent in several jewellery traditions. In contrast to a full moon motif which has the tendency to diminish, the tradition has preferred the crescent form as it only grows and advances. In Himalayan hill region this pendant type – ga’u, the term used for pendant in Takri dialect, is known as ‘chiri tikka’ and is cast mostly in silver but also in gold; contrarily, in Karnataka where it is known as ‘kokke thathi’ it is usually cast in gold but sometimes also in silver. The style was specially favoured by Islamic populace where it had holy text inscribed on it. However, different from these routine versions of crescent pendants the pendant, this necklace is composed of, has been made to combine the forms from the domains of architecture, mythical and folk traditions and esoteric Tantrism, besides its main crescent form.
The upper conically rising component has reflections of a building’s super-structure : a cornice or upper moulding of a palace or fort symbolic of the peak to which the mystic powers of the necklace are capable of leading. The four representative gemstones used over here in this part : coral, turquoise, amber and agate, embedded within this cornice-moulding comprise the traditional auspicious Kirtimukha motif. The curling lines that join on both sides the crescent form and the super-structure are actually the forms of a pair of peacocks highly venerated in popular tradition as having divine contexts and being highly auspicious. Both forms protect against everything untoward. The strangest is, however, the knotted form below. A series of endless knots it stands for long life and eternal love. In some systems this form symbolises cosmic energy represented as serpent power. It is also a form of ‘Pavitram’, the starting ground for many rituals in various regions.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.