Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 1967
Not on view
Since medieval times, shoe buckles have been a prominent part of a lady or gentleman's ensemble. During the 17th century, their popularity and decorative nature increased. This beautifully designed pair from the late 19th century illustrates the dominance of the trend over the centuries. The intriguing imagery of the snakes slithering themselves around the buckles is both subtle and highly decorative. It would require a second glance to notice the red paste eyes and the tapered tails. The fine detail required to execute the intertwining forms with graduated stones demonstrates fine workmanship.