Golden Horde (South Russia or Central Asia)
mid- or later 13th century AD
gold sheet and wire, with repoussé, chased and engraved decoration and granulation
2.8 x 2.8cm; 4.4 x 2.9cm (including loop)
These square belt plaques are box-constructed, worked in repoussé, and enhanced with chasing and engraving on the front and back. The borders are granulated.
Each plaque depicts two does under a tree with large four-petalled flowers, and a row of lappets, perhaps representing shrubs, in the foreground. The paired animals are either couchant or standing. Their bodies are oriented in the same direction; the head of the deer at the front is turned back, while the second faces forward. The ears are clearly articulated and the animals do not have the mushroom-like (lingzhi) antlers indicative of Chinese inspiration [compare JLY 2135]. The plaques were attached to a belt by loops on the back; only one has a suspension ring.
D. Alexander, The Arts of War. Arms and Armour of the 7th to 19th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXI, London 1992, cat.4, pp.30–31. M. Spink & J. Ogden, The Art of Adornment, Jewellery of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XVII, Part Two, London 2013, cat.303, pp.400–01. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.216, p.184.