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Bodice fasteners

  • Place of origin:

    Telemark (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt filigree on red velvet trimmed with gold ribbon

  • Museum number:

    1328:1 to 14-1873

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 70, shelf B, box 3 []

Norwegian traditional jewellery is called bunadsølv (dress silver). Most of it has changed very little since medieval times. More women in Norway still own and wear traditional jewellery than in any other country in Europe. You can see jewellery like this being worn at weddings or on other social occasions to this day.

Most Norwegian women's traditional dress includes a bodice, which was laced up at the front. For festive and wedding dress, the eyelets through which the lacing cord was threaded, the cord itself, and the tags at the ends of the cord, were all made of silver.

The eyelets or bodice fasteners (maljer) were used mainly for decoration. They were worn not only on the bodice, but also in rows on the jacket, and sometimes also on the headdress. They were often sewn onto a strip of rich material, as here, called a maljeklut, to make it easier to attach them to the costume.

These maljer are typical of those used in Telemark in the 19th century. They consist of a rosette of gilded silver filigree resting on a circle of twisted wire. One petal is deliberately missing from each rosette, to leave room for the cord or chain which joins them together. Each malje has a bowl-shaped (skålløv) pendant hanging from its front. This is the most characteristic element of all Norwegian traditional jewellery. This set was bought for £4 14s at the International Exhibition, London, 1872.

Physical description

Set of 12 bodice fasteners attached in groups of six to their two original facings. Each fastener is a circle of twisted wire, with a filigree trefoil resting on the circle, and partly covering the space inside it. A pendent disc hangs from the centre of each trefoil. The facings are each made of a strip of red velvet cloth with a border of gold ribbon lace.

Place of Origin

Telemark (made)

Date

1850-1870 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt filigree on red velvet trimmed with gold ribbon

Descriptive line

Set of 12 silver-gilt filigree bodice fasteners (maljer), mounted on red velvet, Telemark (Norway), 1850-1870.

Materials

Velvet; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Filigree

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Traditional jewellery (Europe)

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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