Name of Object:

Pair of fibulae


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of the Udayas

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:

D 3704

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Openwork cast gold studded with precious stones.


Height 11.5 cm, length 6.3 cm, weight 94 g

Period / Dynasty:





Each of the two fibulae consists of a sliding tongue on an arch and a decorative body finished on the edge opposite the pin with a small ring intended to fix the chain that joined the two fibulae. The body of the fibula is ovoid and its decoration arranged radially. Four bezels in the shape of fleurons known as gharnati or roses of Rhodes set with two green fluorite stones and two garnets emanate from an oval medallion studded with a green fluorite stone. Foliate compositions consisting of double grooved palms and three symmetrical palms in the shape of fleurons also emerge from the centre. These are decorated with baroque pearls attached to the surface of the piece with gold wire fixed with a small golden ball. The edges of the fibula are decorated with double palms whose lobes curl in different directions to form a line of festoons.
This valuable, practical piece of jewellery was intended to hold up the bride's haik (robe) and includes a prophylactic symbol against the evil eye. In fact, the cruciform arrangement consisting of five stones suggests the five-fingered hand motif as well as the central eye that sees danger and scatters it to the four winds to protect the new bride or wife who wears it from any misfortune that the envious may wish upon her.

View Short Description

These fibulae have sliding pin, semi-circular fastenings and were used to fix a bride's dress. These are coupled with a plaque decorated on both sides to complete the piece. One side is enamelled and the other studded with five precious stones, the symbol of the hand.

Original Owner:


How date and origin were established:

The work of J. Besancenot has shown that this type of jewellery was no longer produced using this technique from the late 19th century.

How Object was obtained:

A gift from Revillaud 1930.

How provenance was established:

Fez was reputed for the manufacture of such jewellery.

Selected bibliography:

Besancenot, J., Bijoux arabes et berbères du Maroc, Casablanca, 1957.
Eudel, P., Dictionnaire des bijoux de l'Afrique du Nord, Paris, 1906.
Khatib-Boujibar, N., Parures et bijoux du Maroc, Casablanca, 1974.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Pair of fibulae" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;44;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 66


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