Ethiopian Silver Pendant with Fertility Symbols of Male and Female Anatomy
The naturalistic male and female fertility symbols were made separately. No piece of the jewelry item is without a backing of the same material. The spherical male symbols and the hemispherical female symbols are hollow. The connecting rings do not appear to be made of the same grade of silver as the rest of the piece. I suspect that none of the silver is more than 60 percent silver. Nevertheless, the patina enhances the appearance of this old piece. It gives the impression of having once had enameling applied to the spaces between the designs on the plaque. Within the culture in which it was created, it was no doubt worn by a female, married or approaching marriage. It more than likely served as a temple ornament worn attached by a cord to the veil or braids of hair just above the top of the ear.
This piece was included in a purchase of Yemeni collectible jewelry. Many Ethiopian and Yemeni jewelry styles are cross-cultural.
The chain is a modern antiqued silver plated chain and clasp.
Chain: 21.5 inches (54 cm) long. Plaque and symbolic pendants: 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) long. 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) wide at widest point.