Belt with Profiles of Half-Length Figures


Not on view

Extravagant girdles used to cinch the fall of clothing at the waist were often part of betrothal gifts, dowries, and counter-dowries (given by the groom). One of the stories of Boccaccio's Decameron (1349–52) included girdles, along with rings, as gifts for a new bride. Intact girdles such as this one are rare. It would have been worn under the breasts, pulled through the buckle—here in the form of a curving figure—and then hanging to the ground, its gilt details and enameling catching the light. The enamel technique known as basse taille allows the silver below to shine through the translucent enamels.

Belt with Profiles of Half-Length Figures, Basse taille enamel, silver-gilt, mounted on textile belt, Italian

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