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The Ouled Nail. Defense bracelets by Sarah Corbett

The Ouled Nail are a semi nomadic people living in the Saharan Atlas Mountains, They are believed to be Berber people who have been strongly influenced by Arab culture. They are mainly found in Djelfa, Biskra and M’sila provinces.
The women of the Ouled Nail (Nailiyat) historically have a distinct style of bellydance called Bou Saada, Most women of the Ouled Nail are trained in the art of music and dance from childhood.
In times of famine or of need some Nailiyat women would leave their homes and settle in nearby towns as dancers. These young women were likely to have been accompanied in the towns and cities by an older female relative who would act as a chaperone.
The communities of Nailiyat women who existed in the towns and cities engaged in dancing, hostessing and escorting. Their older relatives maintained the households for them. The young Nailiyat dancers accumulated as much wealth as they were able. This wealth was in the form of jewellery and textiles.
The jewels of the Ouled Nail are bold and plentiful. Many pieces of heavy silver jewellery are worn, coins , chains and ostrich feathers were prized, but for me one piece of adornment stands out as truly

Stanley Hill, Sr., and Seneca Iroquois Combs by Kajetan Fiedorowicz

Stanley Hill, Sr., and Seneca Iroquois Combs by Kajetan Fiedorowicz

Many contemporary tribal artists reach to their nations’ historical sources for inspiration, which provides for a certain continuation of tradition. However, they do not always admit that reference. This makes the process of “joining stylistic dots” much harder, but not impossible.
The comb presented below, carved c. 1977 by Stanley Hill, Sr., (Mohawk Clan) is an interesting and competently executed interpretation of an ancient Seneca Iroquois antler comb that dates back to the late 1600s.
This crudely carved and incised comb depicts two wolves, clan symbol of the Wolf Clan. They stay on the roof of a cosmic longhouse that symbolizes the political structure of the Iroquois Confederacy. Within the longhouse, three human figures squat in a so-called “hocker” position, which many women in traditional societies assume when giving birth. However, these figures most probably represent the three eldest brothers (Cayuga, Oneida and Tuscarora) of the Iroquois Confederacy, representing the Seneca, Onondaga and Mohawk nations.
Here are two other effigy-related examples from the The Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, which resides at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
The first depicts two wolves facing each other without other imagery, and dates c. 1660 – 1675.
The second is a Seneca Horse Effigy Comb, made


Foot binding in China

For 1000 years tiny curved feet were considered the ultimate level of beauty in China. During this period around 3 billion women bound their feet.
The most likely origin of the practice is from the time of Emporor Liyu ( 937 – 975 AD). Entranced by the form of the feet of a favourite dancer he had her feet wrapped to accentuate them. Other women of the court who wished to please the emperor also began to wrap their feet. The fashion spread to upper class women and eventually beyond. True to the extremes of fashion smaller feet and tighter binding became desirable, leading to foot binding and 3 inch feet.
The practice was outlawed in 1912, however some continued secretly to foot bind until the 1950’s.
Communism in China meant that women were required to undertake harsh physical labour, so the foot binding became impossible to perpetuate and for the bound woman to survive.
The lengthy and painful process of foot binding was begun when a girl was between 4 – 7 years old her soft, tender bones would be manipulated to bring the four smallest toes to the underside of the foot and to pull the heel and toes closely together. This


Aggrab Al Fadda Beads by Sarah Corbett

Sometimes in the world of bead collecting a style of bead comes to the foreground in terms of interest and desirability.
In recent years the Aggrab Al fadda bead has been that specimen. This silver hollow bead is from Mauritania.
The term Aggrab means bag, Al Fadda denotes a bag made from the body of a goat.
These goat skin bags would be used in areas of North and West Africa to carry and store water. The cured goat hide is lined with tar, and creates an effective vessel to contain liquids. Such bags are still used by water sellers ( Garrab) in Morocco.
As with many other symbolic jewels worn around the world, the connection between life giving water supply and the design of the bead to be worn to denote life and fertility is clear.
The beads themselves are finely worked and generally in silver, although aluminium examples are known and I have recently been advised that examples in gold exist.
Created from thin hammered silver sheet and made in two halves which are joined to make a hollow bead. Decor and size can vary stylistically, though it is generally hammered onto the surface of the bead, some examples have added granulation, perhaps a

New from Ning

Pashtun torque with sacred verses

by Thelma This silver Pashtun torque from Afghanistan is decorated with opposing snakes’ heads for the protection of the wearer. The remainder of the unusual decoration follows a floral theme with flowers in pots and small gardens. Two tear-shaped turquoise cabochons are placed Join the discussion here

Antique Glass Beads

by Edith D I found these at the flea market here in Jakarta, and was very attracted to the bright yellow color and fun shape. I have seen similar ones for sale in other antique stores here in Java. Can anyone tell me Join the discussion here

Head Cover – Rashaideh-Saudi Arabia

by Peter Hoesli This head cover is very heavy being embroidered with silver beads, very classic to the Rashaideh tribe. Join the discussion here

Necklace – Saudi Arabia

by Peter Hoesli This is an unusual piece. The center piece can be opened and would have contained a prayer or some pieces with amuletic powers. A pure Bedouin piece, that has lived! Join the discussion here

Pendant with Rashaideh Headcover – Saudi Arabia

by Peter Hoesli This is a beautiful, heavy pendant, the centerpiece of which is a Maria Theresa Thaler. The Rashaideh headcover features beautiful silver beads embroideries and is very heavy as it is quite large. This are rare pieces. Join the discussion here

Necklace – Yemen/Saudi Arabia

by Peter Hoesli This necklace has its origin in Yemen but was worn often also in Saudi Arabia. This is an exceptionally large piece, in high silver, larger than the one, which I have previously posted. Join the discussion here

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Hair Adorned

You see, but you do not observe – By Barbara Steinberg.

You see, but you do not observe – By Barbara Steinberg.

Recently a very nice Art Nouveau back comb sold on E-Bay for a little less than the $2400 Buy-It-Now price. Dimensions: 6 inches wide by 5 1/2 inches high. The subject was Sycamore-maple-leaf seeds. The comb was made from horn with pearl seeds and signed, Read more from Barbara Anne at Ethnic Jewels Magazine

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