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Art/ Collection/ Art Object


late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or northern Pakistan
Silver; fire-gilded with enamel decoration and table-cut stone carnelian
1 3/8 x 5 1/2 in. (3.5 x 14 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2009
Accession Number:
Not on view
Four Rings (MMA 2014.714.8, MMA 2014.714.7, MMA 2012.206.11, and MMA 2009.530.14)

Kazakh rings are represented here by three works. The first, no. 2014.714.8, featuring a single large carnelian set in an oval bezel and an attached thimble, is an example of the smaller versions of these rings. The other two, nos. 2014.714.7 and 2012.206.11, illustrate the spectacular elaboration of this Central Asian form: both are flat-topped, oval in shape, and extremely heavy. (Rings were also made in teardrop shapes.) The rings are embellished with striking variations on powerful designs that, as seen in other Kazakh ornaments, may be interpreted as solar or wheel symbols. The surface of no. 2014.714.7 is encrusted with triangular motifs emanating from the center, which bears a colored-glass setting decorated with a cross-shaped form. The bezel of no. 2012.206.11 bears a vertical element flanked by two oval-shaped colored-glass settings with a zigzag motif, perhaps symbolizing the couple brought together by the matchmaker who owned the ring.

A flat-topped circular ring in the collection (no. 2009.530.14), executed in champlevé enamel, is related to the Kazakh rings in form but not in design. The design of chevrons, rosettes, and triangles executed in three colored enamels is characteristic of jewelry produced in Multan, Pakistan. Similar rings are also worn by the Pashtun tribe of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Comparable rings fitted with mirrors instead of carnelians were worn by brides to glance at the groom during wedding ceremonies.[14]

Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]


14. Nadler, Daniel, and Serga Nadler. Silver: From Fetish to Fashion. New York, 2005, p. 136.
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. 164, p. 203, ill. pl. 164 (color).

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