Unlike the previous two sections of the display featuring items of high international standing, the Jewellery Art of the East and South America remained all but unknown to general public in the past decades with only a few pieces having ever entered major exhibitions. One can hardly overestimate the quality and span of the Oriental Jewellery collection, which covers Central Asia and the Caucasus, India and Iran, Turkey and Egypt, Byzantium, Mongolia, China, and South America.
Among the centerpieces of the present display are wonderful ornaments, incense burners, jeweled bowls and trays created by Indian jewelers of the 16th-17th centuries and presented to the Russian Emperor by Shah Nadir, the conqueror of India, in the 18th century.
Russia's most comprehensive collection of Chinese jewellery dating from the 17th-18th centuries features filigree ornaments, vessels and toilet sets of fine gold and silver wire.
The Pre-Columbian Jewellery of South America combining realistic images with cult symbols and mythical beasts enjoys its first showing ever at the Hermitage museum. Of particular interest is the Mexican Bell - a golden pectoral shaped as the Eagle-Warrior.
The lavishly decorated ceremonial arms come from the famous Arsenal founded by Nicholas I and formerly stationed at Tsarskoye Selo. The Oriental section of the Emperor's collection used to be second to none in Europe back in the 19th century.
Exquisite shapes and stunning combinations of material and color, the mystifying glow of precious metals and Damascus steel, agility and vigor of the 'animal style' and realistic accuracy of other compositions, the infinite variety of polished gemstones coming in every shape, size and color - all this splendor and beauty come from the dreamworld of the jewellery art, which now awaits visitors at the Hermitage Golden Rooms.
India, 16th-17th centuries
Pectorial Decoration in the Form of Warrior-Eagle
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