Tillya Kosh

Bridal forehead decoration

There existed in the 19th century in Bukhara the largest and finest collective of Islamic Artists and craftsmen. The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion.


The jewellery of the region was luxurious and opulent, reflecting the affluence of the society purchasing them.


During the 19th century the jewellers in the area from neighbouring Tajikistan, Persia and India numbered in excess of 400. The combined skills, knowledge and stylistic influences of these craftsmen led to innovative new designs particular to Bukhara . A new style of Urban jewellery was born.


An Iconic piece of adornment which was greatly influenced by this artistic movement was the Tillya Kosh (A brides forehead decoration).


Early examples consist of a filigree plate , adorned with precious stones.


From nearby Samarkand we see the golden brow adornments, with massive silver plates which are formed as arched eyebrows. Decoration consists of Enamel, stone or glass gems, stamped metals and delicate drops.


The area was originally of the Buddhist faith, and the diadems would feature effigies of animals , however the later Islamic influences in the region as politics and religions changed let to initially applied further décor to obscure the appearance of the animals within the design by the addition of colourful insets. Later creations are of a decorative style which features complex abstract styling rather than incorporating representations of animals.



Within the styling of the Tilya Kosh we see archaic ethnic elements which have been brought into the realms of high art by the combinations of diverse creative skills.


Indeed it is possible that these rare stunning pieces are a marriage of styles, the frontal fillets and the floral garlands which had previously both been seen in the ancient history of this region.


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