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Yemeni Matching Gilded Silver Talismanic Box (Hirz) & Purse

Both signed by the same maker, Yemen
early 20th century

length of talisman: 13cm, width of purse: 7.3cm, combined weight: 207g

Available - Enquire


private collection, UK

This fine talismanic box designed to be worn on a necklace around the neck and a purse probably were intended to be worn by a man. Both items clearly are by the same hand and both have applied silver plaques with the master maker’s name in Arabic.

Both are pierced and are very well decorated with tightly wound silver filigree, floral plaques and the like.  The pierced area of both are backed with hammered silver sheet.

The talismanic box has three eyelets at the top to allow it to be suspended.

This horseshoe-shaped purse would have been worn attached to the belt of a Yemeni man. The reverse is of sheet silver with a belt clip. The purse closes with a silver peg fastener. The top edge opens and it is hinged. Seiwert (2009, p. 321) and Hoek et al (2004, p. 69) illustrate several examples of such purses, albeit with different decoration.

Both items have the remnants of gilding (gold plating). Both are in excellent condition.


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.

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