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Penannular brooch

Penannular brooch

  • Place of origin:

    North Africa (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1899 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Edmond Dresden

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

North Africa (made)


1850-1899 (made)



Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Illegible mark in Arabic characters in rectangular frame.
Probably part of a Tunisian standard mark, 1856-1905.
On one side of each.


Diameter: 7 cm, Diameter: 6.7 cm 320A-1904

Object history note

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.'

Descriptive line

Pair of silver penannular ring brooches missing their pins, North Africa, 1850-1899.




Jewellery; Africa; Metalwork


Middle East Section

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