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Fine Silver Belt Purse (Mahfaza)
San’a, Yemen
19th century

height: 6.2cm, width: 8cm, thickness: 1.9cm, weight: 140g

This silver horseshoe-shaped box-like item served as a purse which was attached to the belt of a Yemeni man. The base is of sheet silver with a belt clip, the
sides are decorated with silver wire and granulation applique work, and the top is richly decorated with silver filigree coils, small silver applied plaques, and
granulation, all arrayed in relief, in geometric patterns.

The top edge is hinged, allowing access to the inside. A pin runs through eyelets in the non-hinged side and this is connected to the box by means of a chain.

Seiwert (2009, p. 321) and Hoek et al (2004, p. 69) illustrate several related examples.

The purse is very decorative and in excellent condition.

References:
Hoek, C.,
et al, Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, Pepin Press, 2004.
Seiwert, W.D.,
Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Bir Collection, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2009.

Provenance: private collection, UK.

Inventory no.: 3984

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