Pair of Chopines thumbnail 1
Pair of Chopines thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Chopines

ca. 1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Chopine
  • Chopine
Materials and Techniques
Punched kid leather and carved pine
Brief Description
Pair of back-less chopines of pine-wood covered with punched kid leather.
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.
Dimensions
  • T. 48 height height: 215mm
  • T.48 width width: 145mm
  • T.48 depth depth: 240mm
  • T.48 a height height: 205mm
  • T.48 a width width: 155mm
  • T.48 a depth depth: 235mm (Note: Measurements taken by conservation for the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain (2015-2016))
Gallery Label
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)
Historical context
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.
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
T.48&A-1914

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record createdFebruary 14, 2003
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