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archerís thumb-ring in the form of a bird


Core Record

Title archerís thumb-ring in the form of a bird
Collection Artworld: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Date 1600-1799 CE
Description While the hole in the ring is circular, the ring itself appears to be ovoid due to extensions for the bird's head and tail. The tail stretches out approximately 20mm, smooth and curved on top but incised and stained beneath. The staining is part black discolouration, part red staining applied by the maker/ owner, which covers the lower rim of the ring and the left-hand side of the head.
The wings are represented around the sides of the ring by incised outlines, while the head is carved in the round. It extends above the ring on a slim neck which widens into a flat head with a short beak. This is naturalistically rendered with holes for nostrils at the top of the beak. The eyes are inlaid red stones around which is a thin strip of gold. There is some damage around the base of the neck in the form of cracking.
Description Source Lorna Hards
Cultural Context Indian
Id Number Current Accession 275
Location Creation Site Bharat, Rajasthan
Location Current Repository Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Subject implements and utensils, warfare, hunting and fishing equipment
Measurements 61 x 54 x 28 mm
Context The ring is evidently intended to represent a partridge, one of the common game birds of Northern India. Although it does not look very functional, because of the bird's projecting head and neck, these features would not have hampered the action of releasing the bowstring over the curve of the back, which was worn so that it protected the ball of the thumb.
Another ring of this type in the Jagdish and Kamala Mittal Museum, Hyderabad, is stained in part only along the wing-like projections on either side of the backs, which is also decorated with the cusps of a cartouche-like motif. In the present example this reddish-brown stain has largely worn off.
The ring resembles ivory carvings found in the city bazaars of the western desert of Rajasthan, and thus was perhaps made in one of the local ivory carving centres, Pali or Pokharan. The use of thumb-rings is described by Latham and Paterson (1970: 34-6). This piece has also been published in Victoria and Albert (1982: no. 527).
Context Source Robert Skelton. In: Steven Hooper (ed.). 1997. Catalogue to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. University of East Anglia.
Rights Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich, 2002. All Rights reserved
Work Type weapon
 

 

 

 

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