Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

A Yomud asyk surrounded and divided down the middle by a metal strip stamped with circles. On the left (facing the asyk) is the female half and on the right, the male. Both are decorated with arabesques, among which are 2 small crescent moons picked out in gold. The carnelian at the centre, surrounded by small platelets, locks the female and the male halves of the asyk together... and it holds a secret.... the bottom platelet on the female side is decorated with ten tiny granules, representing the ten lunar months of pregnancy. Late nineteenth to early twentieth century. Dimensions:21x14.5cm

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Comment by Thelma on April 18, 2017 at 12:33

There is another connection between the wearer's plaits and the asyk. This concerns the length of the plaits and the damage at the base of the asyk. Where the plaits are long, and since the asyk is attached near to the bottom of the plaits, the base of the asyk will touch the ground every time the wearer squats down to do her cooking ... and gradually the tip will be worn away. This may happen over many years, particularly where the mother-in-law passes her asyk down to her new daughter-in-law. And so an asyk where the tip is worn is considered to be an old asyk. See Linda Pastorino's collection at . However, I suggest that where the plaits are shorter, the same process of gradual wear at the tip of the asyk may not occur and the age of the asyk may therefore be more difficult to read.

Comment by Thelma on April 17, 2017 at 14:01

Thanks, Toya. I particularly like the two little crescent moons. I think they are new moons which are associated with growth and development. The motifs on the column have been compared to the shapes two oil lamps.

Comment by Toya on April 17, 2017 at 6:21

Such a beauty. The arabesques are really wonderful. Great find.

Comment by Thelma on April 16, 2017 at 15:50

Here is a picture of another asyk with a hair attachment from the Gull Collection (found in Hermann Rudolph's 'Der Turkmenenschmuck'). It is made of plaited cords. Yet another asyk with a similar attachment can be found on p. 245 of the Schletzer's book 'Old Silver Jewellery of the Turkoman'. In this case, it is made of a leather strap. Different owners seem to prefer their own materials but the method is strikingly similar.

Comment by Thelma on April 16, 2017 at 14:30

A strip of cloth which passes from one suspension loop, through the suspension tube to the other suspension loop has been sewn onto the asyk to enable the wearer to attach the asyk to her hair. This would have been worn in two plaits, probably falling near to her waist at the back. The bottom of each plait, where the hair is thinner, would have been threaded through the loops in the material and fastened at the back, leaving the face of the asyk on display to protect the wearer. I doubt if it was comfortable to wear.



Created by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 10, 2017 at 4:03pm. Last updated by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 17, 2017.

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