Home » news » New Article: ANKLETS – KHALAKIL


Baessler-Archiv, volume 58, 2010, was published and pp. 53-90, includes my article: Anklets: כלאכל Khalakil

Yemeni jewels are very famous, however those from the eighteenth century are less scrutinize. In the frame of my Ph.D. dissertation I showed fourteen different types of Jewish jewels adorned by the Jewish bride at Ga bir al-azabקאע ביר אלעזב the Jewish neighborhood outside Sanaa and Rada’ רדאע. That includes anklets, known as כלאכל in Judeo-Yemeni script, which is the Hebrew writing of the Yemeni speaking (http://www.oraberger.co.il). Jewels in couplets, such as ankletes, hardly survived from Yemen from the eighteenth century. That turns the pair of כלאכל Khalakil from 1771/2 by the Jewish silversmith Salem Kasil to a test case of Jewish and Yemeni Art.

This paper is concerned with an intact original pair of Khalakil that shows ostriches and fishes as its iconography. I wish to focus on that pair of stamped anklets, signed by Salem Kasil – a Jewish silversmith from Ga bir al-azab קאע ביר אלעזב, the Jewish neighborhood outside Sanaa – as a test case of Jewish and Yemeni Art. The target is to shed light on כ’לאכ’ל Khalkil as a Jewish safeguard, due to its unique iconography of ostriches and fishes. 

The iconography of ostirches in the context of Khalkil was never researched before and is shown here for the first time. The silversmith Salem Kasil chiseled his name סאלם קסיל in Judeo-Yemeni script on it. The tabi, which is the official stamp of the Zaydi imams, dates it to 1771/2 and shows al-Mahdi as the ruling Imam. At the essence of its existence lie four questions. First, why ostriches and fishes? Second, is it a new iconography of Yemen? Third, what is the art formula of ostriches and fishes in Yemen and what we can conclude out of that? Fourth, is it the same כ’לאכ’ל(pl.) of the Jewish bride of the classical Cairo Geniza community (ninth – thirteenth centuries)?

כלאכל Khalakil would be examined from the point of view of Art history. The basis is the crossroad of Jewish thought and Yemeni art formulas regarding ostriches and fishes. Examples of ostriches and fishes as Yemeni brands would be provided since Antiquity up- till the twentieth century. כלאכל Khalakil present the only  jewels known to us today made by Salem Kasil and signed by him.


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