Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Boy's Amulet in the Shape of Camels

Object Name:
Amulet
Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran, possibly Yomut
Medium:
Silver; fire gilded, with punching, chains, glass stones, and table cut carnelians
Dimensions:
21 1/8 in. (53.7 cm)
Classification:
Jewelry
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.530.3a
Not on view
Boys' Amulets: MMA 2009.530.3a, b, MMA 2010.501.6a, b, and MMA 2017.639.9

Turkmen children’s ornaments have a special charm, different from the more imposing works made for women; they are smaller and more whimsical. Amulets in various shapes and sizes, singly or in pairs, were sewn onto boys’ clothing, generally on the back but sometimes on a bib.[52] They illustrate the original function of ornament in Turkmen culture as protection against the evil eye and sickness, but also evoke the children’s world of play. Examples of the latter are animal-shaped amulets such as a pair of camels (nos. 2009.530.3a, b) or bow-and-arrow-shaped amulets (smaller versions of the works discussed under pectorals nos. 2010.501.7 and 2012.206.4 and headdress ornaments nos. 2016.714.2, .3, and 2009.530.5a, b). Square amulets surmounted by ram’s-horn terminals are among the most distinctive Turkmen ornaments because of the prominent terminals.

Nos. 2010.501.6a, b and 2017.639.9 present variations on this type. Both are square, inset with carnelians at the center, and embellished with appliqué or fire gilding. The ram’s-horn terminals are both playful and anthropomorphic; the latter characteristic is sometimes attributed to other Turkmen ornaments, particularly adamlik temple pendants.

Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]

Footnotes:

52. See Rudolph, Hermann. Der Turkmenenschmuck: Sammlung Kurt Gull. Exh. cat., Museum Rietberg Zürich; Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin. Stuttgart, 1984, p. 72, figs. A1–A3; and Steffan, Roland, and Hans- Jörg Schwabl. Silberglanz und Kleiderpracht der Seidenstrassen: Sammlung Kurt Gull. Exh. cat., Volkerkundemuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2004, p. 143, fig. 97, for images of a bib and a boy’s coat respectively.
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (by 2006–9; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Turkmen Jewelry," October 9, 2012–February 24, 2013, no. 121.

Diba, Layla S. "Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection." In Turkmen Jewelry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 121, p. 168, ill. pl. 121 (color).

Related Objects

Jewelry Elements

Artist: Date: late 14th–16th century
Accession Number: 1989.87a–l
Date: late 14th–16th century Medium: Gold sheet; worked, chased, and set with turquoise, gray chalcedony, and glass Accession: 1989.87a–l On view in:Gallery 455

Center table

Artist: Imperial Armory, Tula (south of Moscow), Russia Date: ca. 1780–85 Medium: Steel, silver, gilt copper, gilt brass, basswood; replaced mirror glass Accession: 2002.115 On view in:Gallery 553

Boy's or Girl's Cap

Artist: Date: late 19th–early 20th century
Accession Number: 2013.968.8
Date: late 19th–early 20th century Medium: Silver; fire-gilded and repousse with openwork and beaded stamped decoration, table cut carnelian, embossed pendants, and perforated terminations. Accession: 2013.968.8 On view in:Not on view

Tripartite Pectoral Ornament

Artist: Date: early 20th century
Accession Number: L.2006.39.77
Date: early 20th century Medium: Silver, fire-gilded, with stamped beading, silver shot, decorative wire, wire chains, embossed pendants, and glass inlays over red foil, lacquer, or cloth Accession: L.2006.39.77 On view in:Not on view

Temple Pendant, One of a Pair

Artist: Date: late 19th–early 20th century
Accession Number: 2007.497.2b
Date: late 19th–early 20th century Medium: Silver; fire-gilded, with decorative wire, table-cut carnelians, glass stones, turquoise beads, loop-in- loop chains, and embossed pendants Accession: 2007.497.2b On view in:Not on view