Antique Bhutan Koma Brooch, Antique Bhutanese Fibula, 10kt Gilded over Metal Alloy, 39 Grams
RARE: A mixed metal with 10kt gilt (now mostly worn off) Buddhist Symbols Bhutanese dress or cloak fasteners with inset of 1 small coral (glass)? stone, known as koma and is of openwork attached to a thick sheet backing plate.
These are very hard to find because the Bhutanese authorities strictly prohibit the export of antiques and items related to religious history out of the country.
This brooch has obvious wear and age from decades of actual use. The contours of the koma has been softened and has a superb patina, front and back.
It is of characteristic traditional design and are used to fasten the kira, the garment of Bhutanese women, at the shoulders. The kira was worn wrapped around the body and secured with a wide woven belt or kera.
The traditional dress is worn by all Butanese nationals in public, by decree of their hereditary monarch, in the interests of preserving Bhutanese culture in the face of the changes brought about by the opening of the country in the late 20th century.
This koma brooche is from the early 20th century, as the arrival of round shoulder brooches was only introduced in the early 20th century.
The openwork design features a superimposed circle layered on backing plate. Contrasting overlay gilt decorated the top - now mostly worn off.
On the reverse of the koma is soldered a metal bar tapered to points which bend inwards to form a fastening device. Also attached on the reverse of each koma is a small ring for the addition of the chain or japtha. The backs of the koma brooches tested as mixed metal alloy.
There are four Glorious Emblems, sacred Buddhist auspicious symbols incorporated in the design pattern at each of the four points in the circle and open Lotus flowers in between.
Buddhist Auspicious Emblems: Lotus Blossom, The Umbrella Parasol, The Golden Fishes, Conch Shell Trumpet
Weight: 39 Grams (1.375 oz.)
Koma Width: 7 cm (2 3/4")
Koma Height: 7 cm (2 3/4")
Tested: Mixed Metal Alloy Front with Gilding
Back: Mixed Metal Alloy