Art/ Collection/ Art Object


late 19th–early 20th century
Country of Origin Central Asia or Iran
Silver, with decorative wire and stamped decoration, table-cut incised carnelians, turquoise, beads, openwork, and silver coins; quilted cotton lining, cotton cords and tassels with beads, and velvet strip with metal ornaments
tassels: 12 x 3 in. (30.5 x 7.6 cm) crown: 5 7/8 x 7 1/8 in. (14.9 x 18.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2006
Accession Number:
Not on view
This pointed silver "crown" exhibits typical Yomut features of small colored stones and stamped silver decoration in delicate designs of small-scale patterns. The base and pointed top of the cap are lavishly ornamented with 208 turquoise beads, set in two circular bands and organized into triangular plaques at the top. Twelve carnelians are set at regular intervals and the corners of the cap are accented with silver coins.

The carnelians are inscribed in nasta'liq script with the names of Shiite saints and Qur’anic verses, the protective powers of the stones enhancing the amuletic quality of the texts. The coins belong to a category known as dirahim khafifs (light coins), manufactured in either gold or silver and produced from the mid-eighth century on.[6] They were stamped on one side only and were intended for ceremonial uses such as wedding ceremonies, when they were showered over participants’ heads with or without flower leaves.

Caps of this type can be documented as early as 1866, when one was included in an illustration by Henri de Blocqueville. They were worn with long silver attachments or silken cords with tassels,[7] most of which no longer survive. Although the velvet strip, cords, and tassels of this piece are probably not original, they illustrate how the cap looked when it was first made. The loop at the top of the cap was intended for a feather.

Laila S. Diba in [Diba 2011]


6. Ghouchani, Abdullah. Ganjine-ye sekke-haye Nishapur Makshufeh dar Shahr-e-Rey (Rey hoard of Nishabur dinars). Tehran, 2004, pp. 123 and 126.

7. Blocqueville, Henri de Couliboeuf de. “Quatorze mois de captivité chez les Turcomans (frontières du Turkestan et de la Perse).” Le tour du monde 13, nos. 328–30 (1866), p. 248.
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (until 2006; 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. 2, p. 49, ill. pl. 2 (color).

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