This is the definitive catalog of an unparalleled collection of Indian jewelry and jeweled luxury objects made at the height of the Mughal empire and Deccan sultanates in the 16th and 17th centuries. The collection, widely regarded as one of the finest in the world, was assembled by Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussa al-Sabah for The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, and reveals the beauty, sophistication and diversity of Indian jeweled arts.
The Indian subcontinent is naturally rich in gems. From ancient times master jewelers developed a wide array of unique techniques and made it home to the most sophisticated jewels on earth. Exotic birds and animals, flowers, trees, and mythological scenes rendered in precious gemstones, gold and enamel demonstrate these artists’ prodigious imagination and skill. They produced not only an unmatched range of jewelry to adorn the body but also ritual and household items of astonishing refinement and luxury, as well as extravagantly large engraved gemstones to serve as symbols of their princely patrons’ royal power—including a spinel of nearly 250 carats demonstrated to be the legendary Timur Ruby.
This volume includes not only the finest and most valuable pieces in the collection—some familiar to connoisseurs, others publishedhere for the first time—but also many previously unknown types that extend our understanding of artistic output in the region. With specially commissioned photography giving unprecedented new views of more than 300 jeweled objects, this is a publication of historic importance and beauty, for all lovers of jewelry, the arts of India and of the Islamic world.
Salam Kaoukji is curator and collection manager of The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, and an editor of Thames & Hudson's long-running and acclaimed series of catalogs. Her previous books about the Indian jeweled arts include Precious Indian Weapons and other Princely Accoutrements (2017) and Treasury of the World: Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals (with Manuel Keene, 2001).