Name of Object:

Two gold bracelets


Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 5th century / AH 11th century

Museum Inventory Number:

1/ 16326؛ 2 / 16326

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gold decorated with filigree and superimposed coils.


Diameter 6.7 cm

Period / Dynasty:





Identical bracelets made of gold, each of which is decorated with bands of ornamentation consisting of pseudo inscriptions. Both bracelets have clasps characterised by two ornamented intersecting triangular shapes. The clasps are decorated with vegetal motifs in the form of whorls, and are framed by pierced circles that cohere together.
The cities of Fustat and Alexandria were among the most important centres for the production of jewellery and precious stones in Egypt during the Fatimid period. These centres were active during the Fatimid period from the middle of the AH 4th / AD 10th century onward since the Fatimids were known to love acquiring gold and jewels to reveal the splendour of their wealth, serving to elevate their prestige as a consequence. A fact that affirms their encouragement for the production of ornamentation is that the Caliph al-Aziz bi Allah undertook the construction of the Palace of Gold, as had Caliph al-Muizz li-Din Allah before him, undertaking the creation of the Hall of Gold in the Eastern Palace. The Palace of Gold and the Hall of Gold were designated to house the different precious-metal acquisitions for which the Fatimids had such a great passion. It is worth mentioning that the Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amrillah used to wear a shield ('asgada) made of gold and silver. Furthermore his sister, Sitt al-Mulk, presented him with a crown of gold that was studded with diamonds and other gems. The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo includes amongst its collections a set of gold rings decorated with depictions of animals, plants and epigraphic decorations, as well as brooches all worked in the filigree technique, with the addition of coils of gold thread. Likewise, the museum has also acquired earrings of different forms and two gold bracelets, adorned by inscriptions in kufic script.

View Short Description

Cairo knew the art of jewellery making and many pieces were produced there over the ages. Jewellers decorated their work with attractive patterns. Production centres in Egypt became active in the time of the Fatimids who loved acquiring gold and jewels as a mark of luxury and wealth.

How date and origin were established:

The bracelets are dated based on the style of filigree decoration, made famous by the Fatimids.

How Object was obtained:

Both bracelets were bought from a dealer of antiquities, Mikhail, in 1941.

How provenance was established:

Egypt was earmarked as the place of production in view of the fact that production of similar types of gold jewellery was widespread throughout Egypt during the Fatimid period.

Selected bibliography:

Abu Sadira, al-Sayed Taha al-Sayed, Al-Hiraf wa al-Sina'at fi Masr al-Islamiyya [Handicrafts and Manufacture in Islamic Egypt], Cairo, 1991.
Al-Maqrizi, Al-mawā'iz wa'l-i'tibār bi-dhikr al-khiţaţ wa'l-āthār [Exhortations and Contemplation of the Recollection of Plans and Monuments], 2 Vols, Cairo, Egypt, 1853.
Al-Pasha, H., et al, Al-Qāhira, Tārikhuha, Fūnunuha, Āthāruha [Cairo: Its History, Arts and Monuments], Cairo, 1970.
Maurice, L., “Al-Dhahab al-Islami mundhu al-qarn al-Sabi' ila al-qarn al-Hadi 'ashar al-Miladi [Islamic Gold from the 7th century to the 11th century]”, (Trans. T Iskandar ), in Al-Majala al-Tarikhiya al-Masriya [Journal of Egyptian History], Cairo, 1984.
Muhammad, H. Z., Kunuz al-Fatimiyyin [Treasures of the Fatimids], Cairo, 1938.

Citation of this web page:

Muhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim "Two gold bracelets" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;22;en

Prepared by: Muhammad Abbas Muhammad SelimMuhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim

He graduated from the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University in 1974 and received an MA on Abbasid Tiraz textiles from the same university in 1995. He has worked at the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo since 1975. He attended a textile conservation course in Vienna while studying different collections at Austrian museums for five months. He co-authored the first catalogue of the Abegg Foundation in Bern in 1995, the catalogue of the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo and the forthcoming catalogue of the Egyptian Textile Museum. He lectured on Fatimid Art in Switzerland in 1997 and at the Ismaili Centre for Islamic Studies in London in 2003. He has classified and studied the Islamic collection at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London, and is currently preparing to publish its catalogues.

Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: ET 39


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