4004

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Silver & Gold Omani Ear Ornaments

Bedouin People, Oman
late 19th century

lengths: 12.4cm, combined weight: 83g

Available - Enquire

Provenance

private collection, UK

This pair of ear ornaments is of silver with applied gold plaques. They would have been worn from a silver chain that ran across the head and under a hair covering.

The form is of a double cone with a pendant array of plump silver berries held together by three ribbed bands coated in gold. Beneath this is a triangular form comprising silver granulation work, a form that is commonly described as being based on the mulberry.

The mid section of each ear ornament is decorated with a row of silver spikes – an allusion to the thorns commonly encountered in the Omani desert.

Each of the cones is decorated with six gold plaques impressed with leaf and berry motifs.

The allusion to berries and leaves in this pair of ear ornaments is suggestive of fertility, prosperity and abundance – appropriate allusions for Bedouin women to wear.

Both earrings have excellent patina. There is minor wear-related denting here and there to the berry forms. There are no losses. Both have excellent patina, and the age of these two is nowhere more apparent in the tips of the silver hoops which actually have indentations worn in from where they were suspended from the headdress.

Most such examples were made without gold plaques, so the addition here of the gold, marks this pair as superior to most extant examples.

See Rajab (2004, p. 23) and Geoffrey-Schneiter & Crick (2016, p. 39) for related pairs.

References

Geoffrey-Schneiter, B., & M. Crick, Bijoux D’Orients Lointains: Au Fil de L’Or au Fil de L’Eau, Foundation Baur, Musee des Artes D’Extreme-Orient/5 Continents,
2016.

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

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