Pair of Earrings (Chand Bali)

Not on view

The pair of earrings is an outstanding example of the opulence and style of late Mughal jewelry, produced within the courtly context of the "nautch" - or the lavish dance culture of "nautch girls" (dancing girls). Intimately woven around styles of courtly dance, such jewelry was worn by accomplished courtesans - mainly at the courts of Lucknow and Hyderabad - who were skilled in the arts of music, dance, and recitation. Their main patrons were the Indian nobility, who appreciated the delicate nuance of every enacted gesture and movement of the performer, which were beautifully enhanced by the lavish jewelry worn. With the arrival of the British, such cultural settings were infused with new patrons, and also artists who observed the scene, ushering in a popular genre subject in "Company painting".

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