Antique Indian Amulet, South India Cache-Sexe Plate, 30.2 Grams
This is a traditionally decorated early to mid 20th century high grade silver amulet plate known as a cache-sexe plate, pubic ornament-amulet, also known as the "Genital shield" for a young girl as a substitute for a loin cloth.
The Araimudi (araimuti) (Tamil: அரைமுடி, araimūḍi ) is a small silver metal plate shaped like a heart or a fig leaf formerly worn by young girls in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. "Arai" means loin and "mudi" means cover.
The "Madras district gazetteers, Volume 1, Part 1" said 'Little girls, up to the age of about 3, wear nothing but the little heart-shaped piece of silver suspended by a waist-cord (arai- mudi) " which calls attention to what it purports to conceal."'
The last photo is from "Traditional Jewelry of India" - Oppi Untracht - Page 90. It has exactly the same design on this South India Cache-Sexe Plate.
Quote: "Telegu girl wearing a silver cache-sexe plate in the shape of a yoni or leaf of the sacred fit tree. In Tamil Nadu this ornament is called mudi-thagadu, meaning "to cover metal plate" or aramudi. Besides serving modesty, this amulet guards the body orifice that otherwise would be exposed to the entry of evil spirits and is frequently worn with two flanking cylindrical amulet cases containing mantras, which fortify it power."
The yoni shape ornament, is considered to be an abstract representation of Shakti and Devi, the creative force that moves through the entire universe.
The amulet has a separate backing plate added and has been strung on a black handmade cotton cord thread with a looped end for closing. There is quite some silver tarnish on the amulet and there are signs of wear on the outer edges of the sturdy bales.
On the front silver wire decoration there is one flower petal missing and it seems that it may not have originally been there. Detailed in listing photo No. 4.
Height: 6.5cm (2 1/2") including Bale
Width: 5.5 cm (2 1/8”)
Bale: 5mm (1/4")
Weight: 30.2 grams (1.065 oz.)
Chain Length: 46 cm (18”)