This antique dowry trunk was originally filled with fine clothes and bedding and presented by a husband to his future wife. Made in southern Morocco, it dates from the early 1900s and is mahogany covered in leather, with silver and brass repousse, camel bone, and gemstone adornments.
The front of this large trunk has two large silver melange repousse hamsa hands, each with a large piece of amber copal resin in the middle. To each side of the Hands of Fatima are silver melange flowers, one containing a centre of red coral; the other a centre of bright turquoise. Above and below the hands are four diamond-shaped pieces of carved camel bone, each framed in silver melange repousse. An additional seal with a large piece of turquoise is set beneath the latch, and metal rivets provide further visual delight.
The top of the chest is just as resplendent. From a large centre piece of amber copal resin a decorative wheel is formed, with eight spokes. In between the spokes are four silver melange snakes, representing desert animals; and four eyes, two with pink coral and two with malachite gemstones. Six silver melange repousse flowers and eight camel-bone "eyes" frame the wheel, inlaid with amber copal and lapis lazuli.
Each side of the trunk has an eight-pointed star, the seal of the prophet, with a piece of amber copal in the middle. Two camel-bone eyes are to each side of the star, with butterfly shapes in silver melange above and below inlaid with coral and lapis lazuli. A large repousse silver lizard graces the lid on each side. And then there are the coins. There are eight Morocco Falus, dating between 1859-1873. The other coins are identifiable as Moroccan Rial from the early 20th century. The coins are quite worn but the design is still visible.
The back of this highly decorative trunk is plain leather, and all edges are protected by a thick repousse silver melange. The flap of the closure is repousse silver melange, while the hinge and clasp are an iron metal, and show visible rust. Additional rust can be seen on some of the decorative metal rivets. The side carrying handles are also worn metal.
This chest, known as a sandok, was sourced from the southern Morocco desert town of Zagora. The chest weighs 35lbs.