Dorsal plate ornament, late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Silver, fire–gilded, engraved, and chased with openwork and cabochon and table–cut carnelians; 18 1/2 x 10 7/8 in. (47 x 27.6 cm)
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2005 (2005.443.1)
This heart-shaped hair ornament, or asik, accompanied a woman's transition from childhood into married life. The asik is attached to a woman's plaits and extends to her back. Heart-shaped hair ornaments are common in Turkmen jewelry, but this example stands out with the sophistication of its chased open-leaf and double-leaf motifs, the intricate gilding and engraving, and the lavish use of cabochon stones and carnelians. A cylindrical bozbend, or tube, at the top is meant to hold Muslim prayer scrolls. Above it, a triangular mountain symbol with three horn motifs attached to it connects the wearer to her ancestors.