Exhibitions/ Art Object

Amulet Holder

Object Name:
Amulet holder
late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Silver; fire-gilded and chased, with openwork, chains, table-cut carnelians, and turquoise beads
Including original chain: 18 3/16 x 6 in. (46.2 x 15.2 cm) Excluding original chain: 6 3/8 x 6 in. (16.2 x 15.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.530.13a, b
Not on view
Variants of Yomut and Teke Amulet Holders (MMA 2009.530.13a, b, MMA 2012.206.10 and MMA 2013.968.10)

Variants of the Yomut and Teke amulet holders were made in Karakalpak and Kazakh styles, while a trapezoidal form of pectoral amulet holder may be assigned to Afghanistan (no. 2013.968.10). No. 2009.530.13a, b is adorned in a style very close to the Teke prototypes but with the additional embellishment of floral-shaped settings of carnelians surrounded by small turquoises typical of the Karakalpak style.[64]

The two Kazakh works are very different from each other and illustrate the variety of Kazakh production. The first amulet holder, no. 2012.206.10, perhaps earlier in date, exhibits a delicate surface design identical to that of the Teke pieces, yet executed in the pseudo-granulation typical of Kazakh taste. Oval and marquise-shaped stones embellish the surface, and minute star-shaped and polygonal beaded motifs that resemble granulation are used as edging. The silver beading contrasts in texture and color with the gilded silver ground. The second Kazakh piece, cat. no. 145 in this volume (Promised Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf), new to the literature, features a much bolder design and larger scale. The overall conception is comparable to the Teke amulet holders nos. 2016.714.7 and 2007.497.8a, b. The surface is no longer gilded, and it is adorned with much larger roundels of beading evoking granulation on colored ground imitating carnelians and large starshaped motifs. The delicate chains of no. 2012.206.10 are replaced with polygonal plaques that are decorated with the same roundels as the surface of the main component of the work.

Layla S. DIba in [Diba 2011]


64. Komleva, Galina. Jewellery: Museum of Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR. Translated by Sergei Volynets. Leningrad, 1988, p. 231; Alieva, Zafara. “Ritual Jewelry of the Karakalpak Women in the 19th–early 20th c.” San’at 19, no. 2 (2003), pp. 14–15.
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. 143, p. 186, ill. pl. 143 (color).

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