An encyclopedic assortment including headdresses, ear ornaments, brooches, belts, necklaces and rings spanning from 2,600 B.C.E. until the present will be featured. About 230 objects will be culled primarily from the museum’s permanent collection including recent acquisitions. Museumgoers will also see an assortment of sculptures, paintings, prints and photographs that are meant to “amplify the many stories and transformation that jewelry tells,” when the exhibition bows on Nov. 12.
Some of the more unusual elements will be a head-to-toe ensemble from ancient Egypt that was designed to accompany the elite into the afterlife. There will also be items from the Royal Cemetery of Ur from a ritual of ancient Mesopotamia, which is present-day Iraq. Regalia that once belonged to the rulers of Calima, which is now Colombia, will also be on view.
The universality of jewelry will set the stage with a dramatic installation of precious objects made for the body at the beginning of the exhibition. In other galleries, there will be thematic groupings for “The Divine Body,” “The Regal Body,” “The Transcendent Body,” “The Alluring Body” and “The Resplendent Body.” The Regal Body will examine how throughout history jewelry has been used as an indicator of rank and status such as ivory and bronze from the Royal Courts of Benin and sapphires and pearls from Byzantium.
The Resplendent Body area will highlight adornment of the Mughals, gold and silver jewelry indicative of the Akan and Fon people of West Africa and designs from such companies as Tiffany & Co., Castellani and Lalique. Visitors will also find creations from Peter Chang, Joyce J. Scott and Daniel Brush in that segment of the exhibition.
The Albion Art Co. Ltd. is supporting the “Jewelry: The Body Transformed.”