Gold Surmadani/Antimony Pendant
Mughal, North India
18th century

Gold surmadani khol (kajal) container in the form of a pendant which is shaped like a mango (aam).
The stem of the container unscrews and a long tip emerges which is used to outline the eyes.
The vessel is plain gold with no motifs or etchings except for a floral design on the stem. The container has a suspension ring that would have originally been attached to a chain or cord. Most known and published examples of such containers are made of silver and gilding. The fact that this piece is uniquely made from pure gold suggests that it was specially commissioned for a wealthy patron, probably a royal lady. The pendant is in the auspicious form of the mango.
Shapes and forms from nature such as flowers, buds, fruits and leaves, were often used as elements of design. In Hindu mythology the mango is a symbol of love and a wish fulfilling tree.
The antiquity of the mango form and design can be dated back to the Chola period. Ancient Chola bronze images of goddesses often featured this symbol.
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