Armbands (MMA 2013.968.4a, b, MMA 2012.206.5, MMA 2006.544.13a, b, MMA 2008.579.8a, .b, and 2011.584.10a, b)
As is the case with the cordiform pendants in the collection, these armbands illustrate a range of decoration, from arabesque to abstract. Three Teke armbands— one pair (no. 2013.968.4a, b) and one single (no. 2012.206.5)— are tapered, divided into three bands or registers, and embellished with fire gilding, arabesque decoration, and a dazzling display of carnelians. A pair of Yomut armbands (no. 2006.544.13a, b) features an equally lavish decoration focusing on surface patterning with fifteen carnelians and eighteen small turquoises each, while a pair of cuffs assigned to an as yet unidentified Turkmen tribe (no. 2008.579.8a, .b) exhibits an unadorned polished silver surface and a modest decoration of scalloped registers in fire gilding. Another set of armbands (no. 2011.584.10a, b) is embellished with multiple bands and different decorative patterns, including delicate fretwork, floral motifs, and lozenges. This type of decoration can be traced back to the decorative vocabulary of nineteenth-century Central Asian urban workshops, a tradition that continued to flourish until recently in that area as well as in northern India.
Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]
8. Rudolph, Hermann. Der Turkmenenschmuck: Sammlung Kurt Gull. Exh. cat., Museum Rietberg Zürich; Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin. Stuttgart, 1984, p. 244, states that such armbands were made in different regions and by various tribes.