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Head dress - Head dress

Head dress

  • Object:

    Head dress

  • Place of origin:

    Lebanon (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sheet silver with chased pattern overlaid with a silver-gilt filigree plaque set with red, blue, turquoise and green coloured glass pastes

  • 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 a bird perched on top of a stylised cypress tree, and long branches, which may represent the tree of life.

Physical description

Hollow conical head dress made from sheet silver with a flat top and open base. The body is entirely decorated with three vertical designs. The front design is the outline of a cypress tree, and the other two are stylised branches. There are horizontal bands of chevrons round the base and top, and a star on the flat top. A silver-gilt filigree plaque, shaped like a tree of the same size and shape as the chased one, with a bird at the top, is riveted to the front. The filigree plaque is set with coloured pastes. There are three loose suspension rings riveted to the body, on the central band of chevrons round the base, one at each side and one at the back.

Place of Origin

Lebanon (made)


1800-1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Sheet silver with chased pattern overlaid with a silver-gilt filigree plaque set with red, blue, turquoise and green coloured glass pastes


Length: 37 cm overall, Diameter: 7 cm maximum at base

Descriptive line

Conical silver head dress, (tantour) with silver-gilt filigree plaque inset with coloured glass, Lebanon, 1800-1870.

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



Silver; Silver-gilt; Paste


Filigree; Gilt; Incising

Subjects depicted

Bird; Cypress tree; Crescent


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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