Belt Buckle in Two Parts


Not on view

Bashford Dean (1867–1928), founding curator of the Department of Arms and Armor, frequently acquired works of art, which he called documents, if they included interesting depictions of armor and weapons, particularly rare or early types. Stephen V. Grancsay (1897–1980), Dean’s successor, followed the same practice, adding paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and stained glass to the collection.

Both Dean and Granscay also believed that for armor to be fully understood, in addition to contextual works of art, armor itself must be studied piece by piece in exacting detail, including any surviving textile linings, rivets, leather or textile straps, and buckles. In an article published in 1921 Dean wrote, "…buckles are not merely art objects in little…[they] are importantly diagnostic for the student or armor, for their design and details change with each decade." Many of the buckles in the museum were not necessarily made for use with armor, but entered the collection as part of large groups of buckles that were acquired together for study purposes.

Belt Buckle in Two Parts, Copper alloy, Frankish

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