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    Iraq Kingdom/Bravery Medal "Niello"

    Guest IMHF

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    Iraq Kingdom/Bravery Medal "Niello"

    Niello: Goldsmiths of Florence in the middle of the 15th century ornamented their works by means of engraving the metal with a burin, after which they filled up the hollows produced by the burin with a black enamel made of silver, lead and sulphur. The resulting design, called a niello, was much of higher contrast and thus much more visible.

    Friends Notes:

    "burnt" work is probably niello work - where a powder is baked into a depression in the silver and then hand finished. I am assuming that the manufacturer of the awards was local to Baghdad and the name, rank & number engraving actioned as necessary.


    Two Types:

    1. Mounted type bar for the ribbon

    2. Ring type system holds the ribbon for mounting (this type I was told is a mini)

    The medals are both the same size just different type of mounting system.

    Owain, displays both types in:

    Jomsa, Volume 57 Jan-Feb 2006, Number 1 Article, medals of the Kingdom of Iraq.

    This medal sold for $800.00 last month at the antique store MESOPOTAMIA in Baghdad, Iraq owend by my friend Basim al-Shamaree.

    Edited by IMHF
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    • 1 month later...


    Very interesting, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Have only recently become aware of "Iraqi niello silver", my understand is that...

    Iraqi silversmiths were usually Mandean Christian. They typically employed nielloed designs and are acknowledged to have been very skilled. These Silversmiths were based mainly in Baghdad, Basra and around Maysan province which is in the southern marshes.

    In recent years the number of Mandean Christians in Iraq has fallen dramatically.


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    Thank you so much for sharing your information, this type of art has been around sence the 15th century and is still being used today.

    Very well detailed Order, a lot of craftsmenship went in to making these awards:

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    Here are some more "Niello" type awards that I have in my collection, that I wanted to share.

    Thank you for viewing them:

    SSG Luna, Lorenzo

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    It is the Faisal the First Gallantry award from the first Iraqi series of awards dating from 1926 :

    A silver disc, 1? inches diameter (40mm x 42mm) and 1/16th inch thickness, with two white triangular silver wings, each composed of eleven feathers attached to the lower sides, the bases of the wings being fixed on the circumference of the disc. In the centre of the obverse is engraved ?Faisal The First? and the reverse is engraved ?For Gallantry?. The ribbon is one inch (36mm) in width with a central ? inch dark red stripe with black edge stripes. Subsequent awards are noted by the attachment to the ribbon of 5mm seven-rayed silver stars to the middle of the ribbon. This scarce award was made to a number of British Officers and the recipient?s rank, name and number were engraved on the reverse of the medal. This award became obsolete in April 1934 when the design was replaced by seven-pointed, multi rayed brass star. In the centre a 25mm. diameter silver disc bearing a gold coloured brass crown, 13mm by 13mm. (A variation on a blue disc is known.) The crown is supported on two crossed curved swords each 15mm. long, with a width of 1?mm. Suspension is by a loop attached to the uppermost ray of the star. The reverse is blank.

    From entries collected from extant issues of the Iraqi Government Gazettes between 1926 and 1946 some 363 Gallantry Medals are known to have been awarded, although this figure may be higher. Fifteen of these were awarded to British personnel as follows:

    • 9 to the Royal Air Force (4 x Officer Pilots, 2 x Sgt. Pilots and 3 x Airmen).
    • 3 to the Army officers attached to Iraqi units.
    • 3 to officer on attachment to the Iraqi Police.


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    • 2 weeks later...


    This is the full size 1st type bravery medal in my collection awarded to Flight Sgt. Lewis of the Royal Air Force - purchased as a lone item in the UK and awaiting to be researched.

    Say hello to Rihab.


    Edited by oamotme
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    • 10 years later...

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