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    Exceptional Pair of Berber Enamelled Silver Ear Ornaments (Kharb) & Matched Head Ornament

    Tahaka (or Tahla), Taza Province, Fès-Meknès, Morocco
    19th century

    Available - Enquire


    private collection, Germany

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This large temporal adornment which comprises an extravagant pair of ear ornaments and a chain to secure the ensemble to the headdress is from the Tahaka (or Tahla) region in Taza Province, Fès-Meknès, Morocco. The region is mountainous region and the local Berber people belong to the Beni Warayen’s tribal group. A local Berber woman or a local Jewish woman would have worn this ornament. (The work most probably would have been done by a local Jewish artisan.)

    It is decorated with green, yellow, blue and light blue enamels.

    The ear rings or loops are of sheet silver tubing. Each is decorated with six elongated conical pendants, an applied star motif at the front set with red glass, and (importantly) a motif in the inside of the rings – in this case a heart-shaped motif set with red glass and attendant ‘wings’. This additional adornment in the middle of the rings is an accordance with Tahala tradition and identifies the ornament to that region. Tahala ear ornaments are correspondingly rare (Draguet, 2020, p. 266).

    The chains are of silver, and the triangular forehead ornament is enamelled and set with red glass.

    A similar example is illustrated in Draguet (2020, p. 266) who says that the red of the glass inserts evokes the flow of blood and is thus suggestive of life, and that the green, blue and yellow of the enamels evoke the verdant mountains, the sky, and the desert respectively, all suggestive of the Berber homelands. Two other examples are illustrated in Rabate (2015, p. 54).

    This rare set is in very fine condition.


    Amel, P., et alSplendeurs du Maroc, Musee Royal de l’Afrique Central, Belgium, 1998.

    Draguet, M., Berber Memories: Women and Jewellery in Morocco, Mercatorfonds, 2020.

    Rabate, M., & A. Goldenberg, Bijoux du Maroc, Edisud, 1999.

    Rabate, M., Bijoux du Maroc: Du Haut Atlas a la Vallee du Draa, ACR Edition, 2015.

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