Goldwork from 10th-12th century Egypt and Syria

fatimidgoldearrings10thcent These earring were thought to have been made between the 10th and 11th century in either Egypt or Syria. At the time the area was ruled by the Fatimid dynasty. The earrings are a combination of sheet, wire, filigree, and granulation work. The first earring is 6.4 cm high and 3.3 cm wide; the second is 6.7 cm high and 3.3 cm wide. The earrings are currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

fatimidgoldring11thcent This ring was thought to have been made in the 11th century in either Fatimid ruled Egypt or Syria. It is made of gold in sheets, decorated with filigree and granulation. The ring is 2.7 cm high and 2.5 cm wide. The diametre is 1.4 cm and the weight of the ring is 5.7 grams. The ring is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where there are more pictures to see.

fatimidgoldpendant11thcent This pendant was also thought to have been made in the 11th century Egypt. It is a rare enamelled piece, made from gold sheet, decorated with filigree, wire work, and inset with turquoise. The enamel itself was later glued into place after the design had been finished. The pendant is 4.5 cm high and 3.5 cm wide. The pendant is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where there are many other pictures, including one of the back.

ayyubidgoldbelt12thcent This gold belt buckle was thought to have been made in 12th century Syria, which at the time was ruled by the Ayyubid dynasty. It is 10cm long, made of twin plates to cover the end of the leather. The gold buckle has extruded knobs and bosses while the front plate is decorated with a cartouche of a falcon attacking a bird. It was sold by Christies for £17,250 (or $28,683).

Recommended reading

Near Eastern Jewelry: A Picture Book by Dimand, M. S. and H. E. McAllister. Available for download via the Met or read online through Google Books.

Mamluk jewelry: influences and echoes by Jenkins, M. As published in Muqarnas: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture, Vol 3.

Islamic Jewelry in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Jenkins, M. and Keene, M. Available for download via the Met or read online through Google Books.

Jewish Pilgrimage glass

jewbyzoctbottle This is a moulded glass bottle, made between 500-650 C.E. It is octagonal in shape, 9.2 cm by 9.4 cm by 9.4 cm. It is decorated with the Jewish symbols of the menorah, the shofar, an incense shovel and the lulav. The bottle was made in Byzantine ruled Syria and was thought to have been made for Jewish pilgrims going to the Holy Land. The bottle is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

blackoctbottle This bottle also is octagonally shaped but the dimensions are 8.1 cm by 7 cm by 7.7 cm. The bottle also has been decorated with the Jewish symbols of the lulav, menorah, incense shovel and shofar. It was mold-blown glass, made between 578–636 C.E. The bottle is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

jewbyzhexjug This molded glass jug is hexagonal in shape and also decorated with the Jewish symbols mentioned above. The dimensions are 15.7 cm by 7.4 cm by 6.8 cm. The jug is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All three items were thought to have been made in the one workshop.

Recommended reading
Population, Settlement and Economy in Late Roman and Byzantine Palestine (70-641 AD) by Doron Bar. JStor article.
A Court Jew’s Silver Cup by Vivian B. Mann. Metropolitan Museum Journal.
An Empire’s New Holy Land: The Byzantine Period by S. Thomas Parker. JStor article.
Judaism During the Byzantine Period by Yitzchak Schwartz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Blog.
Religious Contacts in Byzantine Palestine by Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa. JStor article.

A Mamluk finial

This is a Mamluk finial, a decoration that would adorn a standard taken into battle. It would identify different units of warriors. This finial is made from steel, with a height of 51.3 cm and a width of 11.7 cm. It has the name of Sayf al-Din Tarabay on it and a quote from the Qur’an. Sayf al-Din Tarabay was a Syrian emir, who built a well known funerary complex in Cairo. Currently the item is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but there is not much more information there. This Mamluk finial was thought to have been a war prize from the battle of 1517 between the last of the Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottomans. The Ottomans also used finial flags, as written in the article Decorative Motifs Used on the Ottoman Flag Finials by Jaroslav Martykán. Via Google Docs.

Fatimid chess pieces

This alabaster chess set is thought to have come from Fatimid Egypt or Syria in the 11th-12th centuries. The largest piece is 3.8cm high, carved from a single piece of alabaster with fluting. The set has three pawns, two kings (or queens), two knights and two and a half castles (the third is damaged). The sides are differentiated by lapis lazuli and coral insets in the top of the pieces. The pieces were sold by Christies for £59,750 ($86,458).

Mamluk cap


This is a Mamluk cap, made between 1293 and 1341. It is a silk lampas weave with cintamani circles. It was made in either Egypt or Syria. The dimensions are height-14 cm, width-15.5 cm and depth-10.5 cm.

It is currently in the Cleveland Museum of Art. However, the site does not mention if the cap is for a man or a woman or even a translation of the writing. Please let me know what you think!