Name of Object:

Necklace (lebba)


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of the Udayas

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:

D 3705

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gold, precious stones, champlevé enamel.


Height 13 cm, length without attachments 35 cm, weight 700 g

Period / Dynasty:





This large necklace consists of several pendants alternating with fluted ovoid gold pearls on a silk cord. The pendants consist of different golden drops in the shape of fleurons or roses of Rhodes known as gharnati, rosettes, crescent moons and stars that come together to form a long broad necklace covering almost the entire chest. The pendants are decorated on both sides, each studded with ten emeralds and garnets on one side and decorated on the other with green, red and blue champlevé enamel with floral and plant decoration. This type of jewellery was worn by brides from Fez on their wedding day and by upper-middle-class women during festivities. The magic symbols that they bear are intended to protect the women against the evil eye. The fact that there are ten precious stones (twice five, the symbol of the hand that protects from harm) and the crescent-and-moon motif, imitating an eyebrow and an iris (the eye that sees danger) indicate the importance that women placed on amulets.

View Short Description

This necklace, consisting of several pendants decorated on both sides, would have been worn by a bride. It includes symbols intended to protect her against bad luck: the two hands represented by the ten precious stones set in medallions, and the eye represented by the crescent and the circle.

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:


How provenance was established:

Using information provided by jewellers at J. Besancenot.

Selected bibliography:

Besancenot, J., Bijoux arabes et berbères du Maroc, Casablanca, 1957.
Eudel, L., 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 "Necklace (lebba)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;36;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 51


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