The Jewelry of Jewish Brides in Herat, Afghanistan
Jewish brides in Herat wore gold jewelry in the Persian Qajar style, with painted enamel and precious stone inlay. This distinguished them from their Muslim counterparts, who wore only silver jewelry. Additional distinguishing features were the sequins and gold paper cutouts that adorned the Jewish bride's forehead, matching to perfection her makeup and jewelry.
Made by Muslim silversmiths, the jewels were imported from Mashhad, Iran. Their design reflects a combination of cultural influences – from India in the East, Russia and Central Asia in the North, and Iran in the West. Recurring motifs include the sun, birds, and almonds – all symbols of good luck.
Purchase through the gift of Monique and Ervin Landau, London
Gift of Miryam Klimker, and Vicky, Bruria and Abigail Cohen, Jerusalem, and Elisheva Rakity, London, in memory of their parents Sarah née Gol and Reuven Mashiach Cohen
Gift of Rachel Cohen, daughter of Shlomo and Leah, Ramat Hasharon
Accession number: B64.12.4209, B64.12.4224(a-b), B71.0092, B78.0721, B79.1211, B13.1817, B01.0213