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Better Than Bling: Pyu Gold

by Susi, 10 July 2008

Pyu gold armlet

The Pyu Empire was a network of  city-states which held power in what is now Burma, from the 3rd to the 9th century AD. The Pyu were Buddhists, and had a rich material culture which left behind, among other things, a wealth of gold beads and jewelry. The armlet above is among the more remarkable Pyu pieces on the market. Its flower and seed forms (characteristic Pyu motifs), are beautifully formed and the overall effect of the piece is graceful and elegant despite its hefty weight.

Ancient jewelry like this is so beyond bling. Today’s big-name statement jewelry seems soulless in comparison to excavated masterpieces with over a millenium of history. This Pyu armlet was featured in the catalog of the Brussels Oriental Art Fair (BOAF) in June, offered by Bruno Piazza, who deals in ancient ornament with a particular penchant for Pyu gold. (He’s my partner, by the way, and yes, I did get a chance to wear this bracelet once and it felt divine.)


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