Pair of Silver Ear Ornaments
external diameter of hoop: 6cm, length with tassels: 12.5cm, combined weight: 63g
This pair of ear ornaments has been fashioned from high-grade silver. The hoops are hollow and decorated with ribbing and granulation work.
Suspended from each are two sets of silver chains from which hang two ‘hands of Fatimah’ (khamsa or hamsa) cut from sheet silver. These serve as protective talismans. (Fatimah was the youngest daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and Khadijah. She was the wife of Ali and mother of Hasan and Hussein.)
The ‘hand of Fatimah’ motif – an Islamic talisman – became a part of local Sephardic Jewish tradition in North Africa and the Middle East. It is quite possible that these ear ornaments were made by a local Jewish silversmith for a local Muslim clients.
Daalder (2009, p. 390) illustrate a pair of related ear ornaments.
Daalder, T., Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment: Australia, Oceania, Asia, Africa, Ethnic Art Press/Macmillan, 2009.
private collection, UK.
Inventory no.: 3981