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Pair of chopines

Pair of chopines

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Punched kid leather and carved pine

  • Museum number:

    T.48&A-1914

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These chopines are made of pine-wood. The wood is covered in kid leather with punched decoration and figured silk underlay. This pair are fairly modest. More extreme versions were over 50 cms high. Chopines were based on the shoes worn at Turkish baths. They were first worn by Venetian prostitutes and fashionable Venetian aristocrats then adopted them. The chopine was originally a form of overshoe, which is why it has no back. Later versions could be worn as either overshoes or on their own.

Physical description

Chopines, very tall backless Venetian overshoes or shoes made of wood covered with punched kid leather. Fragments of coloured silk visible beneath the cut-out pattern of the uppers.

The two shoes are not identical, either in decoration or height.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Punched kid leather and carved pine

Dimensions

Height: 215 mm T. 48 Height, Width: 145 mm T.48 width, :, Depth: 240 mm T.48 depth, Height: 205 mm T.48A height, Width: 155 mm T.48A width, Depth: 235 mm T.48A depth

Historical context note

These chopines are very typically Italian. Their base are of carved pine, tapering in the middle and flaring at the base to provide greater stability. Most Italian chopines also feature notches on either side. The bases of many chopines, including this pair, are covered in white kid. The uppers are decorated with cutwork in patterns reminiscent of lace from the same period.

Descriptive line

Pair of back-less chopines of pine-wood covered with punched kid leather.

Labels and date

Label for the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
On a Pedestal
The pedestal-like chopine of the late 15th to the early 17th century transformed the upper-class European woman into a towering figure. Especially popular in Venice, the shoes were so exceptionally high – sometimes up to 54 cm – that maids were used as crutches. Chopines were completely hidden under
skirts. The higher the footwear the more cloth was required for the dress, another indication of status.
Pair of Chopines
About 1600
Italy
Punched leather and pine
V&A: T.48&A-1914 [2015-2016]

Materials

Leather; Wood

Techniques

Punching; Shoe-making

Categories

Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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