Sunday, October 26, 2008

Madoula's thimble

This is one of my favorite thimbles. It is silver with niello enamelling. I am told that the thimble says, in Arabic, Madoula on one side, and lady of the house on the other. I don't know when it was made; it had belonged to the previous owner's grandmother. I know, every "antique" thimble always belonged to the owner's grandmother, but I really believe this particular person, who was just happy to pass it along to someone who would love it. And I do. I just wish I could get a better photo of it.

I have seen many other niello-enamelled thimbles, but none like this. There are lovely Marsh Arab thimbles made as souvenirs around the time of the first world war depicting scenes from the marsh areas along the Tigris in what is now Iraq. There also silver niello souvenir thimbles from the Caucasus (Kavkaz) region in Russia/Central Asia. These usually have "Kavkaz" written in Cyrillic and various stylized motifs in black enamel, as shown below. There are more recent examples coming out of Greece and Turkey but they do not have the detail that the older ones have. And none are so lovely as Madoula's.

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