270 jewelry items from the unique collection of one of the representatives of the family of Qatari sheikhs - this is a fascinating journey into the history of jewelry art in India for five centuries. The most striking trace in it was left by the refined style of the Mughal Empire, who came as conquerors, ruled as emperors, and precious stones and objects decorated with them were considered symbols of supreme power. Jewelry turbans, necklaces-collars with a cascade of colored stones, bracelets on wrists and forearms decorated with gold and enamel, pendants with fantastic Baroque pearls in a sculptural setting of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds - all these are evidence of the luxury and splendor of the Mughal Empire. from the 16th century until its decline in the middle of the 18th century.
Suspension, India, 1575-1625 © exhibition press service
Dagger of Shah Jahan, India, 1620-1625 © exhibition press service
Turban decor, India, approx. 1900 © exhibition press service
Almost from the very beginning - 1526 was taken as the starting point of the exposition, when the founder of the Timurid dynasty Babur subjugated northern India - the rulers formed their own artistic style, characterized by spectacular forms and an abundance of precious stones, but at the same time exquisite taste and masterly handwork. In addition to the jewelry itself, the exhibition features two diamonds from the legendary mines of Golconda, emeralds and spinels engraved with the names of representatives of the ruling dynasty, a wine goblet made of carved jade by Padishah Jahangir (1607-08) and a dagger with a jade hilt (1620s), which belonged to Emperor Shah Jahan (according to whose decree the Taj Mahal was built).
Decorative element of the throne of the Sultan Tipu, Mysore, India, 1787-1793 © exhibition press service
Later, with the arrival of the British colonialists, a "commodity" exchange began between India and Europe: European jewelers, and above all the Cartier brothers, went to a distant fabulous country for precious stones, and the local rulers of the Maharaja gladly ordered ceremonial jewelry from Cartier, Chaumet and Boucheron vestments in the European style. Among the exhibits you can see an egret brooch with multi-colored enamel in the shape of a peacock, made by the French jeweler Mellerio (Mellerio dits Meller) in 1905 for Maharaja Kapurtala, a ruby choker by Cartiercommissioned by Maharaja Patiala for one of his wives, a platinum necklace with rubies and a diamond turban plume with a huge golden Tiger's Eye diamond (both completed in 1937), made for the ruler of Navanagar.
Egret, Mellerio dits Meller, Paris, 1905 © exhibition press office
Choker-collar of Nizam Hyderabad, India, 1850-1875 © exhibition press service
One of the main masterpieces of the exhibition was the famous Baroda pearl carpet, commissioned by the maharajas of this Indian principality in 1865. The customer was a supporter of Islam: according to his idea, a precious carpet embroidered with stones and 950 thousand pearls was supposed to cover the grave of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, but the magnificent gift was never delivered to the sacred place.
Some of the mentioned treasures of the Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani have already visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Paris Grand Palais, and now they have arrived in Italy for the first time.
The exhibition "Treasures of the Great Mughals and Maharajas: From the Al Thani Collection" at the Doge's Palace in Venice will take place from September 9 to January 3, 2018.>