Clasp With Belt

1750-1850 (made)
Clasp With Belt thumbnail 1
Clasp With Belt thumbnail 2
+5
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Throughout the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, from the north Balkans to the Caucasus, large and elaborate waist clasps were the most important item in a woman’s dowry. These clasps come in a small number of basic shapes of which this one, shaped like a comma, is the most characteristic. The shape comes originally from India, and is variously described as a mango, almond, cone or Paisley pattern. The women who owned these clasps sewed them onto cloth belts which they made themselves, usually richly embroidered. The belt acquired with this one is a rare survival.

Cypriot clasps are part of the general Ottoman tradition, but are often more sophisticated and decorative than those from elsewhere. The goldsmiths of Cyprus were famous for their filigree work, often enriched with blue and green enamels. Although comma-shaped filigree clasps were worn throughout the region, clasps like this, made of thin open filigree with a central applied plaque of green enamel, and a filigree motif along the upper edges, were only made in Cyprus. It was described as 18th century when it was acquired, and this may be true. It was bought in 1888, just after a terrible famine, when many people had to sell their family heirlooms to survive.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Clasps
  • Clasps
  • Belts
Brief Description
Silver-gilt filigree clasp with enamel decoration with an embroidered velvet belt, Cyprus, 1750-1850.
Dimensions
  • Belt clasp length: 15cm
Summary
Throughout the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, from the north Balkans to the Caucasus, large and elaborate waist clasps were the most important item in a woman’s dowry. These clasps come in a small number of basic shapes of which this one, shaped like a comma, is the most characteristic. The shape comes originally from India, and is variously described as a mango, almond, cone or Paisley pattern. The women who owned these clasps sewed them onto cloth belts which they made themselves, usually richly embroidered. The belt acquired with this one is a rare survival.



Cypriot clasps are part of the general Ottoman tradition, but are often more sophisticated and decorative than those from elsewhere. The goldsmiths of Cyprus were famous for their filigree work, often enriched with blue and green enamels. Although comma-shaped filigree clasps were worn throughout the region, clasps like this, made of thin open filigree with a central applied plaque of green enamel, and a filigree motif along the upper edges, were only made in Cyprus. It was described as 18th century when it was acquired, and this may be true. It was bought in 1888, just after a terrible famine, when many people had to sell their family heirlooms to survive.

Collection
Accession Number
1538 to B-1888

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record createdApril 16, 2003
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