Vintage silver enamelled tabzimt from Kabylie, Algeria
A beautiful example of a traditional tabzimt (fibula). The circular fibula is richly decorated with cloisonné enamelling and detailed silver work. It is adorned with five original raised Bakelite elements and has eleven dangles, each decorated with the same blue, yellow and green enamel work and Bakelite detail. The reverse of the fibula is also ornately decorated with enamel work. An amazing collector’s piece due to its intricate workmanship and beauty.
A tabzimt was traditionally given to a bride as part of her dowry from her parents or sometimes presented to a mother by her husband on the birth of her first son. She would wear it attached to a headband or on her chest as a fibula or pendant. This one is in very good condition for its age.
First half 20th century
Silver, enamel & Bakelite
10.5 cm (h) x 9.5 cm (w) exc. dangles.
Dangles: 3.0 cm
Rabaté, M. (2013). Les Fibules. Paris-La Défense: ACR éd. pp. 77-78.
Fisher, A. (1998). Africa Adorned. New York: H. Abrams, pp. 260-261.
Fibulae (tizerzai in Tamazight; tabzimt in Arabic) are traditional silver Berber brooches, usually attached together by a chain, which come in pairs and are worn by women to fasten items of clothing together as well as being very decorative items. Women from different regions show their identity by wearing distinctive shaped fibulae, often very ornate. They symbolise feminine fertility.