studied Arabic and economics at the Leipzig University Oriental Studies Institute and took his doctorate in ethnology at Moscow University. For many years he was curator of the North African collection at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Leipzig. Research and study have taken him on journeys to Mauretania, the Western Sahara and the Caucasus, Libya, Tunisia and Iran, the Central Asian countries and the Balkans. With his wife Inge Seiwert he has designed several ethnographic exhibitions. While doing so, he made the acquaintance of Ümit Bir, whose extraordinary jewellery collection he has became familiar with and greatly admires.
The author is particularly fascinated by the regional breadth of the Bir Collection. This is what makes it easy for viewers to recognise the enigmatic language of jewellery and gain some idea of its cultural and historical context. As Wolf-Dieter Seiwert sees it, jewellery is a source of inspiration and knowledge that never dries up and refl ects constantly changing world-views.