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.