Menís Jewelry

Weapons as decorations for a manís body

In the majority of cultures men beautify themselves by wearing impressive weapons in which a great deal of work, money, and rich imagination have been invested. Some of these weapons were not designed for battle but for the display of wealth and status, and therefore were considered ďmenís jewelry.Ē
There are some 400 items on display in the exhibit, comprising cold weaponry (daggers, swords, spears, boomerangs and even a pistol incorporated into a sword), and weapons designed for defense (such as a horseís shield in the shape of an elephant in order to scare the enemy, helmets and armor).
These items are made of costly raw material, such as gold and silver, the bone of a casuara bird, horns (mainly horns of the rhinoceros, identified with male potency, different kinds of exotic trees and animal skins and fish, set with diamonds, turquoise and precious stones).
In addition, weapons that were hidden in other objects, such as walking sticks or fans, are on display, as well as womenís weapons, such as a dagger that served women for taking their revenge on the violation of their honor, or swords from the Islamic world decorated with Jewish symbols and Hebrew inscriptions (despite the fact that Jews were usually not permitted to carry weapons in those countries, there were cases when they were allowed to make and decorate jewelry and weapons using the same techniques).
The exhibit reflects not only the spiritual and material world of men the world over through their weapons, but also the best technological achievements and decorative traditions practiced in these countries as of the 17th century; video films and ethnographical photographs related to weapons will also be shown at the exhibition.

Curators: Dr. Eytan Ayalon and Nitsa Bashkin Yosef

Photograph: Dror Katz
Opens: April 15, 2007

Closes: April 27, 2008