Pair of Matching Silver Omani Anklets, Rigid Foot Bracelets from Oman


Weighty pair of Omani anklets (over 1KG or 2.2 lbs) from Nizwa made anytime between 1900-1970. They are called  by many names including: Mattal, ental, hajil, khalkhal and natal. These are made of high grade silver and were worn in both Zanzibar and Oman. It is believed that the designs are influenced by Indian (Gujarati) jewelry.  The theory is that the design originated in Gujarat with which Oman traded for a long time. After importing to Oman silversmiths in both Oman and Zanzibar copied the design and took over production locally while the original anklets in India became extinct.

The anklets have incredible work with repousse and chasing decorations to the majority of their exterior surface area. The anklet is formed of two parts joined by a hinge on the back and  a pin (solid silver) at the front.

Anklets were traditionally given as a pair to a daughter by her father to mark puberty. They were worn with the flat part of the two anklets facing each other on the inside of the ankle. You can see an 1862 picture of the Omani Princess Salme Said wearing a pair:

A similar pair can be seen in:

Ruth Hawley: Silver. The Traditional Art of Oman

and in the British Museum:

The front of the anklet is 6.5 cm (2 1/2") wide. At the back the width is 4 cm (1 5/8"). Inner circumference is 19 cm (7 1/2"). Inner diameter is 6.5 cm (2 1/2"). Weight for both is 1160 grams!

One of the anklets has a small dent on the back and the other has a slight depression at the front, but generally in good condition.

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