Enamelled & Gilded Wedding Belt
length: 69cm, height of buckle: 13.6cm, weight: 1,302g
This fine buckle was made for a wedding – for the groom to present to his bride. It is of Greek and Bulgarian in style and shows influences from afar afield as North Africa, Russia and of course Ottoman Turkey. It is of gilded nickel, gilded silver, enamel and glass paste stones. The metal plates of the belt are attached to woven fabric.
The buckle comprises two rectangular sections that slot together and are secured by a long silver pin which is attached to the belt by a chain. There is a seven-lobe device above the rim of the middle section. The lobes give the appearance of a crown, hence this type of buckle is known as a
corona (crown) buckle. The buckle is decorated with delicate, gilded filigree within which there are brightly coloured fields of green and blue. Three central faceted glass-paste gems are set into the central part of the buckle.
The decoration of the side wings of the buckle is organised around central rectangular panels. Further gilded filigree and enamelling are embellished with more inset paste gems.
The remainder of the belt comprises heavy, rectangular, gilded and engraved metal panels attached to a fabric strip.
The decoration on this belt is similar to that found on ecclesiastic items from Greece and the Balkans and most probably is the product of the same workshops. Such techniques were most widely used in Thrace, an area now divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Such buckles appear to have been used in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Their use seems to have ceased by 1900.
A buckle of similar form and decoration and dated to 1798 to the buckle of the belt here is illustrated in Georgoula (2007, p. 278).
Georgoula, E., (ed.), The Greeks: Art Treasures from the Benaki Museum, Athens, Calouste Gulbernkian Foundation, 2007.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 2036
to see a similar example.