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Three Silver Knife Hilts (Ra’s as-Sikkin)
San’a, Yemen
19th-early 20th century

heights: 10.7cm-11.5cm, combined weight: 253g

These three knife hilts, each of which is mounted on a quality, custom-made stand, are very fine examples of their type.

Each is made of solid, high-grade silver. Two have long multiple silver chain attachments. Each is decorated with applique work, including silver filigree coils,
small silver applied plaques, and granulation, all arrayed geometric patterns.

Two have finials that are inspired by Islamic architecture - but also are reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern Jewish wedding rings. This might not be
surprising because many of the artisans who worked in Yemen producing such silverwork were local Yemeni Jews. They worked for both Muslim and Jewish
clients.

Seiwert (2009, p. 320) illustrates several related examples.

Each is in excellent condition. They are very sculptural, particularly when mounted on their stands and presented as a group.

References:
Seiwert, W.D.,
Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Bir Collection, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2009.

Provenance: private collection, UK.

Inventory no.: 3985 SOLD

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