Earrings, 11th–12th century
Gold wire and filigree; Diam. 2 3/8 in. (6.1 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts and Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick Gift, 2006 (2006.273a,b)
This pair of crescent-shaped earrings is constructed entirely with gold wire and filigree; details of the decoration are achieved through the openwork filigree and fine granulation. The earring has a crescent-shaped body created as a box-construction: on top and bottom, stripes of gold with granulation at the edges hold two openwork filigree bands on the sides, each containing a row of ten small decorative medallions. Two confronted birds conjoined by their beaks and chests stand on tiny feet in the middle of the crescent; their bodies, wings, and necks are in filigree work while their heads were created with gold sheet and granulation on the surface. Seven prongs formed by a short term and a rather large cap decorated with granulation protrude from the lower strip at regular intervals; five additional identical prongs extend diagonally from the exterior openwork band, corresponding to the outer and more visible side of the earring. The stem of the prong is pierced, therefore suggesting that strings of pearls were once used to decorate these objects. The looped clasp made of plain gold wire completes the earring.