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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
 
 
 
ROYAL COURT OF SINGARAJA, BALI
Indonesia
Necklace
c. 1890
Gold, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds

12 1/2 x 9 7/8 x 3/8 inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr.

Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, & the Americas

Arts of the South Pacific
 
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In the 19th century, the royal courts of Bali enjoyed great prosperity and hosted numerous ceremonies and rituals. To assert their right to rule, and to glorify the gods, rulers commissioned artists to create objects of the highest quality. This king's necklace was commissioned by the palace of Singaraja for an important wedding.

Bali is an Indonesian island small in size but rich in adornment. Its artistic tradition descends from older Javanese styles and the ornate Hindu style of India. As in most cultures of Indonesia, gold was believed to be empowered and able to cause both good and evil. It was also valued as a symbol of high status. This necklace may have been commissioned as part of a larger set of royal adornment by King Gusti Agung Gede Agung in 1890 for a significant wedding ceremony. Almost all of the artworks in the set are made of pure gold, evidence of great wealth.