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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Whip, One of a Pair

Object Name:
late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Silver; fire-gilded with horse head terminals, stamped beading, silver shot and twisted wire, cabochon turquoises and glass beads, with a leather attachment
13 3/4 x 2 3/4 in. (34.9 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2010
Accession Number:
Not on view
Whips (2010.501.11a, b, and 2007.497.11)

Islamic horse trappings and arms and armor are especially sumptuous, a tradition that was carried on by both Turkmen tribes and city dwellers. A matched pair of whips (2010.501.11a, b) features a highly unusual decoration of two horses’ heads at the top. The entire surface is covered with an overall decoration of pseudo-granulation and turquoises in various settings and sizes in Kazakh style. A whip and pommel (no. 2007.497.11) are embellished with vertical bands of knotted silver designs (as in the drinking bowl no. 187 in this volume) alternating with bands of minute turquoises, numbering more than three hundred. The whip case houses a sharp silver goad inscribed with the name of the maker, Amanallah, the name of the owner, the ruler Harun al-Yamani (son of Jamal al-Din Zava), and the date, A.H. 1216 / 1801–2 A.D.

The rich decoration of these works is reminiscent of the sumptuous regalia of the Safavid and Ottoman dynasties, which undoubtedly served as models for these works. Photographs and watercolors of nineteenth-century Bukhara illustrate the magnificent robes of honor and horse trappings that were still being produced in this period for the court and tribal elites (see fig. 1, page 6 in this volume).

Layla S. Diba in [Layla 2011]
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (by 2006–10; 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. 178, p. 217, ill. pl. 178 (color).

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