4011

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Seven Fine Silver Omani Headdress Ornaments with Filigree & Tassels

Dhofar Region, Southern Oman
early 20th century

length: 30cm, combined weight: 775g

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Provenance

UK art market

This beautiful set of head ornaments is of high grade, solid silver. Each comprises an elongated hollow cone decorated on the outside with silver filigree, with attached silver pendants in the form of stylised mulberry clusters, and long silver chains which terminate with pairs of silver bifurcate plaques decorated on one side with applied silver wire.

The tops of the cones have borders of protruding spikes. Thick silver wire hoops emerge from the base and hook into the open tops of the cone. These open to allow the ornaments to be attached to a headdress.

This type of head ornamentation was worn by Bedu women in Oman, among others, and also in what is now the United Arab Emirates. They were worn in clusters, the number depending on the wealth of the woman and had the appearance of earrings because they were worn by the ear, but they were not worn through the ear but instead were attached to a headdress. They were made by silversmiths in the Dhofar region of southern Oman.

Related examples are illustrated in Rajab (1998, p. 2) and Hawley (1978).

The examples here have a splendid soften and patina from handling and age. There are very minor losses here and there but overall, this is a fine set.

References

Hawley, R., Omani Silver, Longman, 1978.

Hawley, R., Silver: The Traditional Art of Oman, Stacey International, 2000.

Rajab, J.S., Silver Jewellery of Oman, Tareq Rajab Museum, 1998.

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