Cordiform Pendant

Object Name: Pendant

Date: probably 20th century

Geography: Attributed to Central Asia or Iran

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Silver; fire gilded and chased, with openwork, cabochon and table-cut carnelians, and embossed terminals

Dimensions: 18 1/2 x 10 7/8 in. (47 x 27.6 cm)

Classification: Jewelry

Credit Line: Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.443.1


This heart-shaped hair ornament, or asik, accompanied a woman's transition from childhood into married life. The asik is attached to a woman's plaits and extends to her back. Heart-shaped hair ornaments are common in Turkmen jewelry, but this example stands out with the sophistication of its chased open-leaf and double-leaf motifs, the intricate gilding and engraving, and the lavish use of cabochon stones and carnelians. A cylindrical bozbend, or tube, at the top is meant to hold Muslim prayer scrolls. Above it, a triangular mountain symbol with three horn motifs attached to it connects the wearer to her ancestors.