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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marriage Necklace (Thali)

late 19th century
India (Tamil Nadu, Chetiar)
Gold strung on black thread
Bottom of central bead to end of counterweight: L. 33 1/4 in. (84.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, 1991
Accession Number:
Not on view
Elaborate necklaces of this type were presented by the groom’s family during wedding celebrations of the Chetiar community, a Shaivite mercantile caste, and form part of the bride’s wealth (stridhan) thereafter. The marriage necklace was initially part of marriage dowry gifted to the bride by the groom at a climactic moment in the marriage ceremony, the three knots ritual. This form of necklace is known as a Kali-Tiru, whilst the more elaborate type, which typically includes the central Shiva and Parvati on nandi medallion, a Thali. The four fingers of the central form are often described as denoting the four Vedas.
Cynthia Hazen Polsky , New York (until 1991; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selections for the Opening of The Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries," 1994.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Paintings," 1994–95.

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