Maharaja exhibit debuts at Asian Art Museum


It is a spectacle to see -- 250 years of India's maharaja's from art work to jewelry to clothing. You can explore a culture often steeped in mystique. Maharajas or "great kings" were extravagant, but they were also political leaders.

Patrons of the arts looking for artistic excellence can find it in the jewelry, detailed wedding dresses, and even furniture. Their means of transportation could be considered unconventional -- elephants would carry their thrones. There is also an eye-popping carriage completely clad in silver. It has lots of detail, weighs 3,000 pounds, and was certainly a highlight of grand public processions.

Another showstopper is a Cartier necklace of nearly 3,000 diamonds. The yellow diamond it has is the seventh largest polished diamond in the world. It is the biggest work Cartier has ever done for one client.

The exhibit comes from London's Victoria and Albert Museum. It will be in San Francisco through April 8, 2012.

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