Friday, August 26, 2011

A Link between Yemeni and Turkoman Cultures

The Afghan/Turkoman Wedding Necklace

This kind of eyecatching personal ornamentation was reserved for women at their wedding and for special occasions thereafter in both the cultures under discussion.  You can see similarities in the materials and in the design.  These particular components were all collected and assembled in Afghanistan from the shops in the bazaars of Kabul.  It is all authentic Afghan/Turkoman style ornamentation.  Every part of the necklace was bought there in 1974.  The necklace was assembled based on examples of such necklaces for sale in the shop windows, usually the most collectible (and highly valued) item in the shop.  

The silver is still shiny and bright; the extremely rare old shells are still strong and have proven durable for the hundred or so years that they have decorated a wedding necklace (this particular one only since 1974).  The coral is of Mediterranean origin and would have been bought somewhere along the trade route from Europe into the Himalayas.  Kabul sits at the foot of the High Himalayas and was a very important stop on the route from Europe to China.
The green serpentine is a plenteous Afghan stone, locally called Afghan jade. 

Near the necklace fastening, on each side, there is a double bead, a characteristic of Turkoman silver jewelry.  It is quite rare to find a Turkoman double bead of this age.  The back of the necklace is just as imposing as the front.  The six silver beads at the center of the necklace are actually bells that sound like sleigh bells as the wearer walks.  A woman who wears this kind of necklace is making a fashion statement -- and declaring her status in the tribe.

A wedding necklace that shows the status of the families of the bride and groom, a multi-strand necklace displaying stone, shell, coral and silver beads and the manner of stringing the components together all show obvious similarities.

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