Jewelry as an art form in Mughal India has probably never been surpassed by any other civilization in the history of the world. This full-colour presentation of its fabulously varied achievements, with over 300 specially-taken photographs (the great majority illustration objects never previously published), accompanies the major international exhibition of the same title. The pieces range from rings, necklaces and other body ornaments to astonishingly detailed jewelled work on objects as diverse as boxes, flasks, bowls and daggers. They are presented and analysed here in themes that include creative varieties in stone settings, precious-metal inlay in hardstones, relief decoration in hammered metals, engraved gold-backed jewels, stones set on a gold floral ground, enamelling, gold-embellished steel, three-dimensional expressions, relief carved ornament, carved set gems, the varieties of gemstone forms, and inscribed royal stones, concluding with a selection of particularly exuberant pieces that combine to create an explosion of jewelled magnificence of incomparable splendour. The result is a visual feast of almost unbelievable richness, gathered together in this book for the first
Manuel Keene is Curator of the al-Sabah Collection in Kuwait.