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hamsa buckle 2

Second of the 2 hamsa's on the hamsa buckle.
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  • again i maintain that this symetrical shape of a khamsa is very modern and when we look closer there is a definite feel of neglect in its outline wich is very uncommon for an old piece.


    I have to maintain my skepticism regarding the actual age and may even think of it as forged.


    One last thing is that a buckle of this age should have a couple of early hallmarks.


    See my other comment on the backside closeup

  • Note the amount of grey/black material at the front here: that results from that gradually building up over time, and it looks fully natural (not the result of lampblack treatment etc). ALL these factors must be taken into account in "reading" the piece. The wear, too, is "soft" and natural. On a dishonest piece you get a degree of sharpness, regularity, inky blackness, etc - all these matters are missing here. And such factors are extremely difficult to fake, and primary indications to look for.
  • I also looked  at - i.e. read up on - the question of hallmarks: there is absolutely no need for the piece to have hallmarks for it to be genuine. I knew that much already, before, but deliberately checked. It is just not accurate to say that a "buckle of this age should have a couple of hallmarks". It may have them, but it need not. This is something we should not allow ourselves to be distracted by - it is a non-issue. I have already commented on the matter of the symmetry: I have seen more than one piece in reliable books where the hands were symmetrically positioned. Again, I fear this is a non-issue. It is very easy to develop a sense of what "ought" to be the case which is really not based on anything as absolute, in practice, as is supposed.
  • Hi Joost, I agree that The khamsas being placed symmetrically would not be an indicator. I feel the issue is the symmetry of the khamsa itself rather than placement on the piece.

    Warm wishes

    Sarah x

  • Joost, what  you call the black material build up is the result of a very poor smithing technique.


    Usually on older pieces the khamsas should have been nailed on the buckle with the nail end visible inside the buckle


    here you have the usual forging technique of fitting applique through welding them, wich cause the contour to show this black material and depletion.......you get to see this technique a lot on newly and poorly made khamsas that mimicks the older ones wich bore applique of stars and small animals!


    and as Sarah said, the issue is the symetry of the khamsas themselves

  • There is a lot of black material on this piece, Ayis, which appears to have nothing to do with smithing, but which results from the accumulation of dirt over time, which turns into a "goo". This is found in quite a few places where it would naturally build up, such as I mentioned before, and I do not think that it can be explained on technical grounds (in some areas yes, but certainly not in all). What argues strongly against imitation, too, is the amount of wear on the piece - not only in the case of the piece at the very top, but also elsewhere. That wear is completely consistent with frequent use, and it is too soft and gradual for a faker/forger to be able to produce it. And the patina - in particular its creaminess - does not in any way suit the theory of a forgery (or fake). On the top, notably, the wear and the patina "support" each other beautifully, and typically are of the kind produced by use only. I don't see just in what respect symmetry of the khamsa "itself" is an issue. And I can only repeat the comment I have already made about the supposed symmetry of the hands. To use Sarah's expression, that is not an indicator - there are too many good examples of hamsas where the hands are symmetrical. For example. there are some fine examples of hamsas with symmetrically placed hands on pp. 16 and 17 of *A World of Belts* (I mention this book specifically because it is well-known and accessible).  Finally: there is one point I WILL readily concede, and that is that this khamsa is not as finely made as many others are. However, I think, that that is a matter of quality. Personally I like the piece because it is quite forceful, but it has less finesse than many. That seems to me perfectly compatible with the work of a lesser smith, however, and not an issue of date. Indeed, the explanation which seems to me best to fit all the evidence here is that the piece was made by a smith of limited ability, but that he made it well back into the past, and that as a result, i.e. due to age and use, the item shows perfectly normal wear and patina which would be much harder to reconcile with the notion of a newly made piece than with one that is old but - I grant - roughly made.
  • when you mentionned the "ethnic belts" examples of similar belt buckles, i ran to see them.....well there is a definite misunderstanding between us.


    The symetry we are talking about is not that of the places khamsas occupie on the belt buckle but rather  about the symetry of the khamsa's shape itself, i.e : the shape of the khmasa and its fingers....



    While all the early moroccan khamsas have the thumb distinct from the body of the hand, or all the fingers are highlighted in a very realstic, naive way......newlymade khamsas are more figurative and the thumb appears in symetry with the little finger, making the khamsa as if it could be eqahlly halved with a "virtual" middle line.


    The example you are giving from the book are just confirming my theory


    I think, this is was SARAH was refering to as well.


    You cannot imagine how skillfull moroccan smiths are when it comes to ageing newlymade jewelry

  • Ayis, you are right about a misunderstanding: your and Sarah's point appears to be that the whole concept of the way these two large hands are placed opposite each other is not in tune with most of the older pieces seen. That may be so, but still does not seem to me conclusive. I do acknowledge that there is a lot of faking in the world, too, and I think I CAN "imagine how skillful Moroccan smiths are when it comes to ageing newlymade jewelry", but such a general statement still does not explain to me how one comes to see such perfectly natural and normal wear and patina on the piece. So such matters would really have to be explained away precisely and factually for me to accept that they  are not due to natural causes, and that is not done by referring in a general way to the skills of Moroccan smiths in ageing newly made jewellery. However, although I remain unconvinced, it is not as though I am DOGMATIC about the matter. To me the piece still looks old, and I see as yet no reason for believing that it isn't but - of course - I might have to change to mind, and would, if I were given sufficiently clinching arguments!
  • Clarification....

    My point and also I am certain Ayis' opinion too, is that the khamsa ( taken individually, and not as a pair) is not symmetrical. My point has no bearing whatsoever on the placement of one Khamsa in relation to the other.



    In regards to 'Goo' I have for many years been offered new pieces and asked if I want it to look old. There is a process which dips the piece in layers of 'Goo' and then polishes back leaving fake accumulation in the crevices and other likely places of patina build up.

    The aged pieces are possible to spot in person, and trickier from a pic. Sometimes damage is removed from the surface of a piece this way, using goo and a selection of ever finer polishing wheels. This creates a piece which looks very surface worn on the face which has been worked, and not elsewhere on the piece...I believe that this may be the case with this buckle.

    I would be interested to know if these is evidence of holes previously in existence under the current three applied elements to the front?  One theory would be that the original nail/ pin attatched elements were lost or removed, and the three current pieces were a 'refurbishment' at a later date. The method of Application does not seem in keeping with a piece of 70 - 100 years ago, and to me neither does the workmanship...The pieces may have been applied by solder, worked back with polishing and Goo to hide the obviousness of the repair, and passed on as an old original piece??

    Great to study this piece so well, thanks to Becky for posting the Buckle, and for all of the input recieved.


    Warm wishes




  • Sarah, I know exactly what you mean in your discussion of polishing wheels, and have seen pieces so treated. When I look at the top of this piece I do not feel that the very gradual transition in the wear shown is compatible with that process: it appears clearly to be the product of human handling. Similarly with some of your other observations, e.g. in relation to the matter of "goo". If a piece is given an "overall" treatment of the kind that you describe that will also show as such, and is not like what we see here.
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