Silk Route Shinkara Pendant
22ct gold, vitreous enamel, hand-carved Indonesian ebony, freshwater pearls, yellow sapphire, natural Indian ruby and 18ct gold beads
As a curator Alice explored material objects as representations of cultural identity. Most museum collections are organised in this way – the Korean room, Chinese room ... In the hugely inspiring Museum Reitberg store in Zurich, the curators have displayed objects differently, principally by material, but also by type. In doing so, Indian wood carving from one century sits next to Japanese wood carving from another, emphasising the degree to which national identity, as expressed through objects, is shared not hermetically sealed.
The Silk Route collection is a journey through motif and shape, which only slightly changes as you move across the vast landscapes of this famous trade route from Northern China to Turkey. Juxtaposing incrementally different forms and patterns together encourages a new assessment of familiar, traditional motifs – the objects are of India, but not Indian, redolent of China but not Chinese. The form of the pendant takes inspiration from the lotus bud on Krishna's crown, a Benares woven black and gold sari, a Northern Chinese screen, where birds sit within furled leaves and red flowers, its neck a pattern from a royal palace of Rajasthan. The hand-carved Indonesian ebony temple-top is from Samarkand.
The piece will not be remade, and comes in a museum archive box with a signed and editioned guarantee, as well as a hand-painted detail of the piece in the classic gouache style.