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Pair of chopines

Pair of chopines

  • Place of origin:

    Spain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1580-1620 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cork and silk damask, with stamped decoration on the insole

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This type of backless shoe or slipper had various names. They were known as chopines, and in England they were sometimes called pantobles, or even mules. This pair is a more modest version of the impossibly tall chopines that were fashionable in Venice in the 16th century (see Museum nos. T.48 and T48a-1914). One of the pair is seen on the left of the image. They are made of cork covered with a fashionable 17th century silk damask. This was possibly added at a slightly later date. They have a long ribbon that ties round the wearer's calf and ankle. Elizabeth I had pairs of leather pantobles made for her that were open at the toes, like the examples you see here.

Physical description

Pair of chopines of cork covered with silk damask.

Place of Origin

Spain (made)


ca. 1580-1620 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cork and silk damask, with stamped decoration on the insole


Length: 16 cm, Width: 10 cm, Height: 12.5 cm

Historical context note

Because Spanish chopines were designed to be seen they were often made using brightly coloured luxury textiles. This pair is covered in green silk damask. The four eyelet holes, typical of Spanish design, offered another opportunity to display expensive ribbons.

Descriptive line

F, Spanish, 1580-1620, wood, leather, covered with green silk damask

F, Spanish, 1580-1620, wood, leather, covered with green silk damask

Labels and date

Label for the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

Accessories of Privilege
Originally a form of overshoe to elevate the wearer above the muddy street, the chopine, or chapín in Spanish, was transformed into a luxury object. Spanish chapíns, jewelled and gilded and made in expensive materials, were designed to be visible below the wearer’s skirt. Signalling privilege, they were worn by both Muslim and Christian women. They caused the wearer to walk at a slow, considered pace.
Pair of chapín
Silk damask, leather and cork
Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd
V&A: T.419&A-1913 [2015-2016]


Cork; Silk


Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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