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Pair of Woman’s Ear Pendants

Asian Art

These ornaments were not worn in the ear itself, but appended to a Tibetan woman’s headdress near the ears to frame the face. They served to demonstrate her personal wealth and social status. The most highly prized, sky-blue turquoise originated from mines near Nishapur in Khorosan, Iran, and was traded to Tibet via India; darker colored turquoise came from both Tibet and China. The color turquoise was important to Tibetans as a reference to the sky and lakes, while the mineral turquoise was thought to have powers that added to its appeal as a material for personal adornment. According to the Blue Beryl, an important Tibetan medical treatise written by Sangye Gyatso (1653–1705), turquoise had healing properties: an antidote for poison and a cure for diseases, including liver ailments.
MEDIUM Silver inlaid with turquoise
  • Place Made: Tibet
  • DATES 17th or 18th century
    DIMENSIONS 1 1/2 × 1 × 4 in. (3.8 × 2.5 × 10.2 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 86.227.43a-b
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Pair of Woman’s Ear Pendants, 17th or 18th century. Silver inlaid with turquoise, 1 1/2 × 1 × 4 in. (3.8 × 2.5 × 10.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.43a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.227.43a-b_acetate_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE group, 86.227.43a-b_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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