Dorsal Plait Ornament

Not on view

Dorsal plait ornaments, such as this example, were worn on the backside of the body and adorned the plaits or braids of the wearer. This plait ornament is of a style that is known to have been produced by the Yomut tribe in Central Asia.

Part of this ornament is made up of what appear to be Persian coins. This reflects both the trade relationships with neighboring empires as well as the manner in which jewels function as portable wealth. Coins are found in much Turkmen jewelry, and melted down coinage was used to craft ornaments of many of the Turkmen tribes.

The coins in this ornament appear to be from Iran. However, nineteenth century accounts reveal that master forgers in Merv were making very convincing copies of Russian, Khivan, Bukharan, and Persian coins. Given that glass was used in place of gemstones in this object, it is likely that the coins were created for decorative purposes and never actually used as currency.

Dorsal Plait Ornament, Metal, glass, stone

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