Penannular Brooch thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Penannular Brooch

1850-1899 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The traditional jewellery of the Berber tribes of North Africa is almost always made of silver in heavy, clearly-defined shapes. Although individual pieces rarely date back any earlier than the 19th century, the designs are very old, and European observers liked to find traces of Roman or Phoenician influence.

These penannular rings were originally part of a pair of fibulae, or ring brooches, of a kind that would have been very familiar to the Romans. They would originally have had a long pin attached loosely to the ring. After the Romans left North Africa ring brooches continued in use by women in all the countries of the Maghreb up to the mid 20th century. They were worn in pairs to fasten to fasten the woollen dress which was the main outer garment.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Brooch
  • Brooch
Materials and Techniques
silver
Brief Description
Pair of silver penannular ring brooches missing their pins, North Africa, 1850-1899.
Physical Description
Pair of penannular ring brooches which have lost their pins. Each consists of a hoop of thick silver wire with each end thickened into a solid rectangle. It is decorated all over with short sections of diagonal lines. Missing vertical pins - see 331&A-1904 for complete examples.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 7cm
  • 320 a 1904 diameter: 6.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Illegible mark in Arabic characters in rectangular frame. (On one side of each.)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Edmond Dresden
Object history
Accessions register entry: 'Pair of Bracelets or probably brooches which have lost their pins, of silver, lightly chased. Each is stamped with an Arabic mark. / Penannular, with squared ends (monsters' heads). / North African / Each, diam. 2 3/4 in., thickness 3/16 in.'
Summary
The traditional jewellery of the Berber tribes of North Africa is almost always made of silver in heavy, clearly-defined shapes. Although individual pieces rarely date back any earlier than the 19th century, the designs are very old, and European observers liked to find traces of Roman or Phoenician influence.



These penannular rings were originally part of a pair of fibulae, or ring brooches, of a kind that would have been very familiar to the Romans. They would originally have had a long pin attached loosely to the ring. After the Romans left North Africa ring brooches continued in use by women in all the countries of the Maghreb up to the mid 20th century. They were worn in pairs to fasten to fasten the woollen dress which was the main outer garment.

Collection
Accession Number
320&A-1904

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record createdApril 2, 2003
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