This red and black woollen woman’s necklace with metal work native to the Balochi/Baluchi tribes native to Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, from a dealer in southern Iran, in 2020 to be added to The Zay Initiative collection. It was part of an ensemble along with a set of (shalvar),(pashk), and a pair of earrings all of which are also part of the collection.
This is a women’s neck ornament or necklace with a metal – possibly brass – chain. The pendant is made of a triangular-shaped felt embellished with red wool with possibly (buttonhole_stitch) and (cross_stitch) style embroidery in a talismanic design, and has metal plates, possibly made of brass hammered into the fabric.
The metal plates adorning the pendant have embossed or carved floral and geometric designs. A large round-shaped central plate with a filigree of a floral motif adorns the central drop of the pendant. This is accompanied by two small round filigree medallions with a tree motif and five round pieces of metal coins with a Laurette bust, legends, and dates hanging from the edges of the pendant.
The coins are possibly made of aluminum originally with nickel plating. The legend and date read ‘Republique Francaise 1808’ testifying that these were possibly currency tokens that exchanged hands in the region especially in Persia and parts of Greater Persia between c.1807-1809 – a period that witnessed a Franco-Persian alliance between Napoleon I (Bonaparte) and Fath Ali Shah of Qajar Persia.
The presence of these coins thus testifies that this piece along with the rest of the ensemble that accompanied it possibly originated in present-day Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran.
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