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Head dress - Head dress

Head dress

  • Object:

    Head dress

  • Place of origin:

    Lebanon (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sheet silver chased and ring punched

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The tantour, or ‘horn’, as it was generally known by European travellers at the time, was the most distinctive element in the dress of Druze women in Syria in the 19th century. It was worn on the top of the head, sometimes with a diaphanous white veil attached to the top, and was a compulsory element of the bridal costume; its use was strictly limited to married women. By the end of the century it had been largely replaced by the tarboosh, a smaller felt cap with a silver disc on the crown. It has now been revived as part of the national costume of Lebanon.

Tantours are usually richly decorated with symbolic designs intended to protect or benefit the wearer. This example has double-headed eagles, a traditional sign of power in the region, and stylised cypress trees, of the same kind as are found on prayer mats.

Physical description

Hollow conical head dress made from sheet silver with a flat top and open base. The body is entirely decorated with chased patterns in three vertical designs. The front design has a vertical strip of double-headed eagles and other birds, and the other two have stylised cypress trees. There are horizontal bands of chevrons round the base and top, and a six-pointed rosette on the flat top. There are three loose suspension rings riveted to the body, just above the lower band of chevrons, one at each side and one at the back.

Place of Origin

Lebanon (made)


1800-1860 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Sheet silver chased and ring punched


Diameter: 7 cm maximum at base, Length: 35.5 cm length

Descriptive line

Conical silver head-dress (tantour) with a flat top and incised design, Lebanon, 1800-1860.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

For examples, see:
Rajab, Jehan. ‘Palestinian Costume’, Routledge, 1989, ISBN 978-0710302830, pp. 122-3.
Kalter, Johannes. ‘The Arts and Crafts of Syria’, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1993, ISBN 978-0500974018, pp.167-8.

Production Note






Subjects depicted

Eagle; Double headed eagle; Cypress tree


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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