Lot 226
  • 226

A Seed Pearl and Gem-Set Headdress (Hiyout), Morocco, 19th Century

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • seed pearl, gemstones, gold, cloth
  • Beaded surface: 50 by 21cm.
of long oval shape, the overall surface embroidered with small pearls interspersed with colourful gemstones and golden plaques, on a thick textile ground with two elongated bands used for attaching, a large golden bead and hook hanging from the centre

Catalogue Note

This magnificent headdress, or hiyout, is richly decorated with embroidered seed pearls incorporating colourful stones in its design. This ornamental style is associated with the centres of Tetuan, Tangier, or Rabat (Mann 2001, p.150). Made by Jewish craftsmen for both Jewish and Muslim brides, such headdresses were worn not only as adornments, but also served a religious purpose, notably to cover the woman’s hair, associated with ‘nakedness’ in the Babylonian Talmud Berakhot, 24a, and concealed as a sign of modesty in accordance with the Qur’an (ibid., p.150). The headdresses made for Jewish brides tend to also incorporate two braided silk threads on either side and are known as ‘soulaef’ (ibid., p.150, no.47). A similar headdress, dated to the nineteenth century, is illustrated in Mann 2001, pp.150-151, no.49.

The accompanying photograph (fig.1), taken by Jean Besancenot between 1930-1935, features a young Jewish bride from Salé wearing her costume, "Keswa el-Kbira", which includes a similar headdress and necklaces similar to lots 225 and 227.

Image credits: Jean Besancenot, 1930-1935, Collection Dahan-Hirsch, Brussels.