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Enduring Splendor: Jewelry of India's Thar Desert

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By Thomas K. Seligman and Usha R. Balakrishnan

Enduring Splendor focuses on the rich and diverse silver jewelry traditions of India’s Thar Desert region, stretching across the western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. These traditions are considered against the background of the five-thousand-year history of jewelry making across the vast Indian Subcontinent. Drawing on recent field research carried out in the city of Jaisalmer, a thriving center of contemporary jewelry production, Enduring Splendor explores for the first time the life and work of four sonis (silversmiths or goldsmiths). To contextualize this recent production, numerous illustrations of very fine examples of ninteenth- and twentieth-century jewelry types that are still worn are included. These objects have been borrowed from the Ronald and Maxine Linde Collection of Jewelry and Ritual Arts of India, part of a promised gift to UCLA, where it will find its future home with the Fowler Museum. The Linde Collection is one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Indian jewelry in the world. This volume highlights elaborate rural styles rendered in silver as well as selected ornate examples, largely associated with the elite, made with gold and gemstones.

THOMAS K. SELIGMAN is director emeritus of the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. He is the author of Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World. USHA R. BALAKRISHNAN is an independent scholar of Indian jewelry based in Mumbai.
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