The Walters Art Museum announces Diadem and Dagger. Jewish Silversmiths of Yemen

The Walters Art Museum announces Diadem and Dagger. Jewish Silversmiths of Yemen, an exhibition on view October 27, 2012–January 21, 2013.

Sulayman Salih, Thuma, 1267 AH/AD 1850-1851, silver with gilding and wood, L: 22 1/16 x W: 16 1/8 in.; L of blade: 11 x W of blade: 18 7/8 in., Joint gift to the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Mr. Benjamin Zucker and Mr. Derek Content in honor of Mrs. Barbara Zucker and Mrs. Amanda Content, 2010 (51.1451)

This focus show of approximately 25 objects celebrates Yemeni-Jewish silverwork from the Zucker Family Trust and the Rosalee C. Davison collections, dating between the 18th and the 19th century. According to oral traditions, a Jewish presence in Yemen dates back to the reign of King Solomon, who is believed to have sent artisans with Queen Sheba when she returned to her Arabian Kingdom. The earliest historic evidence for Jews in the Arabian Peninsula, however, dates to the initial centuries of the Common Era. From the inception of Islam in the seventh century, Jewish and Muslim communities co-existed in Yemen, although few Jews live there today due to modern conflicts.

Yemeni-Jewish craftsmen created beautiful silver pieces characterized by elaborate granulation and filigree decoration for Muslims and Jews. The Zucker collection, assembled from 1960 to1980, and now a generous bequest to the Walters and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, consists of female headpieces, bracelets, necklaces and belt buckles. The collection also includes daggers made exclusively for the Muslim male elite. Many of these works carry the name of the Jewish silversmith in Hebrew and an Arabic stamp of Yemenite Muslim rulers. While giving attention to the superb craftsmanship of these works of art, the exhibition’s main focus is the rich social and religious customs associated with the jewelry which are often linked to significant moments in the lives of Yemeni Jews and Muslims, including birth and marriage.

General museum information: 410-547-9000 or

The Walters Art Museum
600 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

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