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Woman's Headband
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Woman's Headband

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The broad silver headband consists of a flexible, tightly interlaced band, which has shield-shaped end-pieces and seven movable retainers with rhombic elements. End-pieces and retainers are executed in embossing and filigree technique; in addition they are gilded and the background is filled with green enamel. The floral decor on the end pieces combines different shaped leaves and stalks; and the rhombic elements display four three-foil attachments arranged around a central five-ball granulation cluster. The motifs of the end-pieces and retainers are framed with bead-molding borders. Such silver headbands formed the basis of a woman's headpiece. The large loops at the end-pieces were used to fix the band at the headscarf, and the smaller loops on the rhombic elements to fasten smaller (often ball-shaped) dangles. Headpieces such as this were common in northern regions of Yemen. The back of the end pieces has an Arabic stamp with the name of the ruling imam and the date: al-Mahdi 1171. Al-Mahdi al-"Abbas was the imam of Yemen from AH 1161 to 1189 (AD 1748-1775), and belonged to then Qasimid family. In 1762/63 he met the German explorer Carsten Niebuhr, who reported on this encounter. An engraving in Hebrew on the back of the other end-piece names the silversmith: Sa'id "Iraqi. The Hebrew script clearly states that the silversmith was Jewish, and the name indicates that he or his family originally came from Iraq.
Date Description Narrative
  • Diadem and Dagger: Jewish Artisans of Yemen. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2012-2013.
  • Treasures of Yemenite Silverwork. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. 2016-2017.
Provenance Mr. Derek Content and Mr. Benjamin Zucker [Zucker Family Trust] London and New York, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2010, by gift.
Inscriptions [Stamp] In Arabic: al-Mahdi 1171; [Engraved] In Hebrew: Sa'id 'Iraqi
Credit Joint gift to the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Mr. Derek Content and Mr. Benjamin Zucker in honor of Mrs. Amanda Content and Mrs. Barbara Zucker, 2010

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1171 AH/AD 1757-1758
silver with gilding and enamel
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
L: 15 3/4 x W of end-pieces: 1 3/16 in. (40 x 3 cm)
  • Yemen, Raydah (Place of Origin)
  • Yemen, Sana'a (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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