Friday, September 20, 2013

The Maker's Mark is Historical Information

A few weeks ago, I sold a bridal dowry amulet or hirz from my collection.  It was signed by the maker, as so many of the finely made hirzes are.  The maker's  name was Ebrahem Saleh.  Here is a photo of that particular amulet.  The gallery did not store a photo of the signature, but this is the very amulet that Ebrahem Saleh signed after making it some time before the 1940's when all the silversmiths emigrated from Yemen to Israel.

Antique Yemen Silver Amulet Signed by Maker Ebraheem Saleh - in gallery of sold items


Just this week, I found another interesting Yemen silver hirz when I was rummaging through another box of such amulets from Yemen, which I consider to be important pieces of Judaica .  My website has a special section for the Yemen Jewish silversmith work, all made before they emigrated from Yemen to Israel in the 1940s.  This amulet, too, is made by someone named Saleh.  This one is signed by Yahia Saleh: 

Antique Yemen Amulet Signed by Maker Yahia Saleh from Fine Collection - listed for sale


If the silversmiths signed their names with the family name first, then there may not be a genetic relationship between the two men, but if they signed their names as English speakers would sign, with the family name last, then there probably was a family relationship.  Their designs are very similar, as you can see.  The horizontal beaded wire strips between rows of diamond shapes and florets with almost identical decorative ends and the same shape of bails or loops for hanging the amulets.  This would lead me to believe that they were working in the same shop in the Sana'a region of Yemen.  

What do you think?  Your comments are invited. 

See more antique silver jewelry HERE






14 comments:

  1. The amulets do resemble each other...

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  2. You have a good theory since there are a lot of similarities in the two pieces, and many families often lived and worked together then as they do now. Such intricate detail on both amulets!

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  3. I am glad you are both seeing the same similarities that I saw. I thought I might be pushing an issue there. ;)
    anna

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  4. They both have similarities. I would say you are most likely correct :)

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  5. Thanks for your comments. I am more convinced now than before that these two amulets are made by the same guild of silversmiths, if not by the same family.
    Anna

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  6. They do look alike, I agree same shop.

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  7. Same shape, similar design elements, same last names, same time frame - I think you've come to a reasonable and probable conclusion here.

    Both are beautiful - the workmanship is so detailed.

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  8. I, also, think your conclusion is correct. They are lovely pieces

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    1. And now these are both gone, as well as a few more, into a fine collection of a recent customer.
      Anna

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  9. Congrats on the sales, Anna! Lucky customer! Such intricate work - and, yes, very similar.

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    1. I have actually ended up selling four more amulets - another signed by Yahia Saleh -- to this collector. Am very happy to send these cultural relics to good collectors. Thanks for your comment, Catherine.

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  10. They definitely look very similar. I can imagine some sort of family jewelry business, maybe brothers.

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    1. I think you are right to think of this arrangement which is still very common in some of the more traditional societies. Whole extended families will live in the same compound and work at the same trade.

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