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Silver Tibet Chest Ornament or Belt Chatelaine

Silver Tibet Chest Ornament or Belt Chatelaine

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9th Century Tibetan ornament. Made entirely of silver. It has two link chains ending with an "endless knot", a Buddhist symbol representing the interconnection of all things. Please note that one of the knots has a bit of damage.  Each of the knots ends in a big silver loop. On the other end, they are connected to a three-dimensional butterfly motif made with filigree. There is some damage to the filigree on the back.

From this central butterfly, hang two double chains from each side. The chains are made of handmade links (smaller than those on the chains ending in a loop) and from the end dangle repousse elements that resemble fish.

From the center of the butterfly hangs a pendant made of silver Indian two Anna coins arranged in the shape of a flower. The coins date from 1841 to 1886. The chain connecting the coin pendant to the butterfly element is different and its links have a round repousse center with a three-armed figure

  • The length of the chains ending in loops is 72.5 cm or 28 1/2".
  • The length of the smaller link chains is 31 cm or 12 1/4"
  • The central filigree butterfly is 3.5 x 5 cm or 1 3/8 x 2"
  • The diameter of the Indian coin pendant is 4.8 cm or just under 2".
  • Weight is 236 grams. 

 I am not entirely sure how this was worn. It could I guess be a chest piece with the loops attached to the dress. I have found one picture portraying a Kham woman wearing something similar as a chatelaine hanging from her belt. See picture below:

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