Silver Braided Wire Belt (Karmapatti)
Maharashtra/Andhra Pradesh, India
late 19th century
length: 78cm, weight: 260g
This fine belt comprises two thickly woven strands of silver wire, gathered together by a series of silver keeps (some embellished with silver flowers; one defficient) and a prominent, double-sided multi-segment frontpiece which serves as an elaborate buckle.
The belt opens by means of a screw mechanism – one of the two finials that jut from either side of the most central panel element of the belt screws out allowing the belt to be opened so that the wearer can place it about the hips.
The screw screws in anti-clockwise – the opposite to modern, western screw mechanisms.
The belt has a good patina and wear that has come from many decades of use. One small silver band along the belt is missing but all the others are present.
Utracht (1997) says that such belts come either from Pune in Maharashtra or Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.
A similar example is illustrated in Utracht (1997, p. 245) and a related example is illustrated in Daalder (2009, p. 322).
Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment: Australia, Oceania, Asia, Africa, Ethnic Art Press/Macmillan, 2009.
Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1188