Name of Object:

Pendant earring


Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Raqqada.

Date of Object:

Hegira 5th–6th centuries / AD 11th–12th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

001 OR

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gold filigree-work.


Length 3.2 cm, width 2 cm, thickness 0.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Very probably Egypt.


The earring is one of an identical pair shaped like a necklace. It consists of a halter of thick gold wire on which are threaded five filigree gold balls. The two balls on each side are spherical. The upper ball is smaller than the lower ball. They are separated by spirals of twisted gold wire. Beneath these, flanked on each side by a solid gold bead, sits the fifth, slightly larger, ellipsoid ball. Joined between the three larger balls is a medallion representing a stylised face with the eyes, nose and mouth drawn in filigree and semi-circular eyebrows joined at the nose. Below the central ball is a small pendant sphere formed of two rings of plaited filigree. The jeweller has shown great skill in working with this fine but tough gold wire. There is no apparent system of attachment to the ear.
This pendant appears to be of Iranian manufacture, with striking similarities to certain pieces of jewellery from Jurgan. But the resemblance to Syrian and Egyptian earrings of the same period is also apparent.

View Short Description

This piece consists of a solid gold semi-circle with an openwork ball in filigreed gold on either side separated by four strands of filigreed gold in a plait. It was probably made in Iran, although the similarity with Syrian and Egyptian earrings from the same time is also significant.

How date and origin were established:

Similar earrings found in Iran and Syria have been dated from the 5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries.

How Object was obtained:

Acquired by the Monastir Museum, the earring was displayed there from 1958, transferring to the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada in 1995.

How provenance was established:

This earring is similar to other objects of Egyptian origin.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Pendant earring" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;tn;Mus01;28;en

Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah

Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
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: TN 48


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Islamic Dynasties / Period


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