Saturday, March 26, 2005


I have always been fascinated by fibula. These always come in pairs, and were worn by Romans to secure their togas. If you have ever lost yours at a toga party you obviously were not wearing a fibula. They usually have a large triangular head, then a long spike below, with a rotating ring attached which can be fed over and under the spike to secure folds of clothing without actually putting the spike through them.
We fell in love with a beautiful piece, obviously a piece de resistance. It was simple, heavy, and a circular head ornament, like a bracelet in form, but triangular in cross section with a smoother centre and heavy decoration on the other two sides. There was a companion piece, much slimmer and simpler, but both with the same hallmark - which according to the book was the jeweler's signature mark. These have become our souvenir of Tripoli.
I am fascinated by the role of souvenirs. To me a purchase made to remind you of a place is so much more than an object. They hold, securely locked within them, a whole swathe of memory. Years later I can pick up my piece of silver and the whole day will roll back, complete with smells, music, people and even the sun on my back in a sun-drenched blue and white souq by the sea in Tripoli.


Anonymous ladyultralighter said...

Your fibula picture sent me to my jewelery box to examine a pair that I purchased nearly 40 years ago in the souks in Tunis. They are "hands of Fatima" with silver filagreed hands as the ornament. I, too, found them the perfect, portable souvenir (when traveling very lightly!) and hadn't thought of them for a very long time. Thoroughly enjoying your blogs.

1:30 am  

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