Name of Object:

A pair of earrings


Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 5th century / AD 11th century

Museum Inventory Number:

1- 2 / 13245

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gold with filigree decoration executed using the openwork / entwining technique.


Diameter 4 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A pair of circular-shaped earrings, the clasps for which are achieved by twisting the two ends together. Each earring is decorated by a central band that cuts the circle in half. The band is ornamented with geometric forms, created from filigree, or entwined gold wire. Below this decorative band, is the sculptural form of two confronting birds whose bodies are decorated with golden granules. Between these two birds, are a series of three small circles. A glass bead is suspended from each earring, surrounded by a number of tiny pearls.

View Short Description

Earrings took various shapes with a multitude of decorative styles. The filigree technique used to decorate these earrings was widely used in the Fatimid period for the decoration of jewellery and in the applied arts in general.

How date and origin were established:

These earrings are dated based on similar examples from the period since the filigree technique was widely used in the Fatimid period for the decoration of jewellery such as rings and earrings and in the production of the applied arts in general.

How Object was obtained:

This pair of earrings was bought by the Museum in 1936 from an antiquities dealer, Abi Mayor.

How provenance was established:

Cairo was narrowed down as the place of production of these earrings in view of the close resemblance to other pieces that have been uncovered during the course of archaeological excavations undertaken in the city of Fustat, south of Cairo.

Selected bibliography:

Al-Ali, Z. O., Al-Tazyeen wa al-Huly ' ind al- Mar'a fi al-'Asr al-'Abbasi [Decoration and Ornamentation of Women in the Abbasid Period], Baghdad, 1976.
Hamdi, A., et al, CatalogMa'rid al-fan al-islāmi fi misr [Catalogue of the Islamic Art Exhibition in Egypt], Cairo, 1969.
Hamdi, A. A., Al-Funun al-Zukhrufiya al-'Arabiya al-Islamiya [Arab-Islamic Decorative Arts], Baghdad, 1982.

Citation of this web page:

Al-Sayyed Muhammad Khalifa Hammad "A pair of earrings" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;41;en

Prepared by: Al-Sayyed Muhammad Khalifa HammadAl-Sayyed Muhammad Khalifa Hammad

He holds a BA in Islamic Antiquities from the Faculty of Art, Cairo University and an MA in the same field from Assiut University. He has been working at the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, since 1974 and attended a training course at Vienna Museum in 1977. He has supervised sections of glass and manuscripts and, currently, coins. At the Museum he has participated in preparing exhibitions at home and abroad and has been a member of several inventory committees. From 1988 to 1999 he worked as a lecturer at Om al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and registered and organised the display of the acquisitions of the Civilisation Museum at the Shari'a and Islamic Studies Faculty at the University.

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 73


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