Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plait Ornament (Jadanagam)

Object Name:
Head ornament
18th–19th century
Attributed to India, probably Madras
Gold; inset with rock crystal, rubies, emeralds, and amethysts
L. 23 3/4 in. (60 cm) Max. W. 3 1/4 in. (8 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
This type of plait ornament, typically worn by brides and dancers, is called a jadanagam (hair serpent) for the grouping of snakes may once have been attached to its topmost disk. This disk and the crescent shape below represent the sun and the moon. Decorated in the kundan technique in which hundreds of rubies, emeralds, amethysts, and pieces of rock crystal were inset into malleable gold foil and made flush with the surface of the ornament, the entire object would have sparkled with the movement of its wearer. In Hindu tradition, a woman’s braid was associated with Triveni Sangam, the sacred confluence of three rivers – the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythic Saraswati.
Lockwood de Forest (American, New York 1850–1932 Santa Barbara, California), New York (until 1919)
Related Objects

Mango-Shaped Flask

Date: mid-17th century Medium: Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds Accession: 1993.18 On view in:Gallery 463

Hand Ornament with Finger Loops and Bracelet (Hathphul)

Date: 18th–19th century Medium: Gold; inset with rubies, emeralds and colorless sapphires Accession: 41.100.116 On view in:Gallery 463

Centerpiece from an Armlet (Bazuband) later made into a Brooch

Date: 18th–19th century Medium: Gold, inset with rubies, emeralds, and colorless sapphires; with later pearls, diamonds, onyx Accession: 41.100.118 On view in:Gallery 463

Rock Crystal Box

Date: 18th century Medium: Rock crystal; inlaid with gold, inset with rubies Accession: 95.14.12 On view in:Gallery 463

Footed Bowl and Plate

Date: first half 18th century Medium: Glass, opalescent white; blown, bowl with applied stem and blown applied foot, fired silver and gold decoration Accession: 2000.490a, b On view in:Gallery 463