Large Indian Silver and Gold Breastplate
Beautiful breastplate from India with gold wash overlay, from Southern India. The work is beautiful the piece is made out of a solid sheet of high-silver content metal that has been hand-hammered from behind, giving the piece a three-dimensional quality. The piece is pretty solid theres a lot of silver here. The use of coin silver means that these pieces gather a beautiful patina with time, and are a wonderful dark silver color that is completely natural. It measures 4 inches wide, by 4.5 inches high (not including the bail). It weighs 50 grams.
This pendant is rich in Hindu mythology. Across the top, are two stylized golden peacocks, which are sacred in Hindu mythology. Peacocks are called Mayura in Hindi, are often depicted as pulling chariots for various Hindu gods. The depiction of a stylized garden is also a common motif, and quite beautiful.
The most common source of silver in 19th and early 20th century Indian silver work was old silver coins, which are approximately 80% silver, and that is what this piece is made out of. The gold coloring is an unusual touch on this type of pendant, and is likely a thin, but high-quality, gold wash.
This piece was made in Southern Indian. Repousse is a metalworking technique in which thin sheets of malleable metal are ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief.