Silver, with parcel-gilt stamping, embossing, glass stones, and turquoise beads
Max. D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
Max. Diam. 5 7/16 in. (13.8 cm)
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2007
Not on view
Part of the everyday clothing of the Turkmen women, flower collars, or guljaka, close the front of a dress. Even these utilitarian decorations carried symbolic meanings similar to other silver jewelry. While the guljaka was especially common in the regions of Turkmenia (today the area south of Kazakhstan and north of Iran), by the eighteenth century its use spread throughout Central Asia and was worn by all Turkoman tribes. This scalloped silver collar stud consists of two gilded disks soldered together, embossed with vine and floral patterns in low relief, and embellished with turquoise and glass stones.
Gilded Yomut collar studs were decorated with embossed radiating panels emanating from a central stone of either carnelian or glass. The collar studs could be flat or slightly rounded as in in this stud with a large central boss. This example features a polygonal dark blue glass rosette rimmed with turquoise beads at the center, a border of alternating blue and red glass stones encircling the central boss, and an outer rim of turquoise beads. The piece’s dazzling and lavish effect is achieved by mixing modest artificial materials such as glass stones with semiprecious ones, opaque with transparent stones, faceted with cabochon cuts—a veritable kaleidoscope of color and form. The whole is set against a delicately patterned ground of feathery floral and leaf sprays, as in this case, or in other cases geometric forms or rams’ horns. The design of the roundels references both floral forms with unfolding petals and solar symbols with radiating panels.
It should be noted that this ornament is exceptionally large; most examples range in size from a little over an inch to less than five inches. It is fitted with a knob at the back, a clear indication that this is a collar stud and not a pectoral. The term for this type of ornament, gulyaka (“collar flower”), was adopted from Persian jewelry terminology, as was the form. Since at least the golden age of Persian culture during the reign of the Safavid dynasty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, women’s transparent shifts were fastened at the collar by small jeweled studs made of gold and embellished with precious stones or pearls (see fig. 15, page 24 in this volume). This work clearly illustrates the influence of Persian jewelry traditions among the Yomut and the slow decline of silver jewelry in favor of gold among the Turkmen tribes in the twentieth century.
Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]
15. Firouz, Iran Ala. Silver Ornaments of the Turkoman. Tehran, 1978, p. 56.
16. Diba, Layla. “Clothing in the Safavid and Qajar Periods.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 5, pp. 785–808, pls. CXV and CXVIII. Costa Mesa, Calif., 1992.
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (until 2007; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Turkmen Jewelry," October 9, 2012–February 24, 2013, no. 81.
Diba, Layla S. "Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection." In Turkmen Jewelry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 81, p. 130, ill. pl. 81 (color).