Necklet, Silver; fire-gilded and chased, with ram’s-head upper terminals, openwork, wire chains, embossed pendants, table-cut and cabochon carnelians, and turquoise beads

Necklet

Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Medium:
Silver; fire-gilded and chased, with ram’s-head upper terminals, openwork, wire chains, embossed pendants, table-cut and cabochon carnelians, and turquoise beads
Dimensions:
With original chain: 15 5/8 x 6 7/8 in. (39.7 x 17.5 cm)
without chain: 7 x 6 7/8 in. (17.8 x 17.5 cm)
Classification:
Jewelry
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.530.7
Not on view
Necklets: MMA 2009.530.7 and MMA 2017.693.10

The Turkmen necklet captured the attention of nineteenth-century travelers, most famously Edmond O’Donovan, who likened it to a dog collar![2 ]. MMA 2009.530.7 exhibits the features of stiff collar, palmettes with terminals, and chains. However, there are significant divergences
from the nineteenth-century prototypes. The length of the collar may indicate that it is not original, since necklets generally fell at the level of the clavicle and this example would have sat much farther down. Other differences from earlier examples include a more stylized and horizontal palmette design, more prominent and brightly colored stones, and the introduction of a new decorative technique, hatching.

MMA 2017.693.10 is closer to the prototypes, retaining the original proportions of the rectangular plaque, the double row of palmettes, the exclusive use of carnelians, and the inclusion of flat surfaces of silver with fire gilding. The small quatrefoils and palmettes that link the chains to the main body of the work are an attractive feature of this necklet.

Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]

Footnotes:

2. O’Donovan, Edmond. The Merv Oasis: Travels and Adventures East of the Caspian during the Years 1879–80–81. London, 1882, vol. 2, p. 261.
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (by 2006–9; gifted to MMA)
Diba, Layla S. "Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection." In Turkmen Jewelry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 68, p. 117, ill. pl. 68 (color).