400-Year-Old Necklace of Hindu Goddess Taleju Bhawani in USA

June 20, 2021

Necklace of Hindu Goddess Taleju Bhawani inscribed with the name of Malla King of Kathmandu Pratap Malla dated back to 1650 AD at display in The Art Institute of Chicago, USA. 
 
King Pratapa Malla (r. 1641–74) may have been given this ornament, ruler of the Malla dynasty of Nepal, to Taleju Bhavani, the revered patron goddess of the old palace in Kathmandu and the chief protective deity of Nepal and its royal family. King Pratapa Malla may also have worn this collar when he participated in rituals. This complex piece is composed of five principal strands and bears the inscription: “Victory to the Mother-Goddess [Bhagavati Devi Janani]. Hail! [This] is the necklace of the King of Kings, Lord of Kings, Lord of the Poets, the Victorious Pratapa Malla Deva (may it be) Auspicious!”
The two innermost strands resemble rudraksha beads, made from the seeds of a large evergreen tree whose berries are commonly made into rosaries of 108 beads. Such prayer beads are most often worn by Shaivite ascetics, either around the neck or woven into their topknots. The third and fourth strands consist of tubular forms in a crescent shape known as hansuli. Each terminates in elaborate clasps, with the inner strand attached to a central amulet case. The outermost ring contains thirteen images of deities, including roundels of the eight mothers (ashtamatrikas), each depicted as the goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon (Mahishasura). As this necklace was a royal commission, the finest Newari artists would have crafted it.
 
Source: Art Institute of Chicago
 
P.S. How did the 400-Year-Old Necklace once worn by the Taleju Bhawani Goddess in Kathmandu make its way to the USA and who’s behind the Nepali antiquities that are abroad? These are some serious questions to raise and issues that common Nepali needs to know. 
 
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