November 3, 2018February 24, 2019

East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection

This exhibition explores the cultural and material exchanges between India and Europe through jewelry and precious objects ranging from the seventeenth century to the present. It features more than 150 pieces made in India or Europe associated with maharajas or their courts. These objects include jewelry to be worn on ceremonial occasions, weapons such as swords and daggers, and precious works of art for display or use. Moreover, gender plays a significant role in this exhibition as, contrary to Western expectations, the most splendid jewelry was supplied exclusively for the male rulers of India. Great pieces of jewelry conceived to adorn the queens of Europe, such as Catherine the Great of Russia or the Empress Eugenie of France, could be happily worn by male maharajas in India.

Image: Corsage brooch or aigrette, Mellerio dits Meller (Mellerio, known as Meller; detail), Paris, ca. 1905. Gold, diamonds, and enamel, (6.7 x 11.3 x 0.5 cm). © The Al Thani Collection. All rights reserved. Photography by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd