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A MOROCCAN GEMSET GOLD EAGLE PENDANT
A MOROCCAN GEMSET GOLD EAGLE PENDANT

PROBABLY TANGIER, 18TH CENTURY

Details
A MOROCCAN GEMSET GOLD EAGLE PENDANT
PROBABLY TANGIER, 18TH CENTURY
The bold heraldic eagle formed of filigree, with flaring tail, body, head and upper wings set with emeralds and other stones and pearls, the tail with a series of seed-pearl pendants, suspended on a multiple seed-pearl strand necklace linked by emeralds and two tubular elements, each with filigree decoration and further inset emeralds
Pendant 2½in. (6.5cm.) long

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Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse

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Lot Essay

Eagles have been a symbol of royal power since pre-history, in Morocco as well as in other countries. The founder of the present dynasty, Moulay Isma'il, was said to wear a royal eagle on a chain at his side as his emblem. An early example of an eagle pendant executed in filigree like that offered here, and dated AH 1012/1603-4 AD is in the Musée national des arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie in Paris (L'Islam dans les collections nationals, Paris 1977, p.173, no. 371). That was bigger than ours, a feature of slightly earlier ones.

Three other eagle pendants are published, all of which have two splayed heads and considerably more stylized form. One is in a private collection (Maroc, les trésors du royaume, Paris, 1999, p. 184). Another, formerly in the Benyaminoff collection and exhibited in the Israel Museum, was sold at Sotheby's on 16 October 1997, lot 34, while a third was also at Sotheby's on 13 April 2000, lot 138. An eagle pendant similar to this one was sold in these Rooms, 17 April 2007. For a double headed eagle pendant in this sale, please see lot 393.

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