Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia
Museum of Islamic Art
Hegira 5th–6th centuries / AD 11th–12th centuries
Length 3.2 cm, width 2 cm, thickness 0.5 cm
Very probably Egypt.
The earring is one of an identical pair shaped like a necklace. It consists of a halter of thick gold wire on which are threaded five filigree gold balls. The two balls on each side are spherical. The upper ball is smaller than the lower ball. They are separated by spirals of twisted gold wire. Beneath these, flanked on each side by a solid gold bead, sits the fifth, slightly larger, ellipsoid ball. Joined between the three larger balls is a medallion representing a stylised face with the eyes, nose and mouth drawn in filigree and semi-circular eyebrows joined at the nose. Below the central ball is a small pendant sphere formed of two rings of plaited filigree. The jeweller has shown great skill in working with this fine but tough gold wire. There is no apparent system of attachment to the ear.
This pendant appears to be of Iranian manufacture, with striking similarities to certain pieces of jewellery from Jurgan. But the resemblance to Syrian and Egyptian earrings of the same period is also apparent.
This piece consists of a solid gold semi-circle with an openwork ball in filigreed gold on either side separated by four strands of filigreed gold in a plait. It was probably made in Iran, although the similarity with Syrian and Egyptian earrings from the same time is also significant.
Similar earrings found in Iran and Syria have been dated from the 5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries.
Acquired by the Monastir Museum, the earring was displayed there from 1958, transferring to the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada in 1995.
This earring is similar to other objects of Egyptian origin.
Mourad Rammah "Pendant earring" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01;28;en
Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah
Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TN 48
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)The Fatimids | Royal Women: Granddaughters of Fatima al-Zahra′ Women | The Private Lives of Muslim Women
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