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Gilded Silver & Copper Buckle inset with Carved Coral Cabochons
Ottoman Turkey or Balkans
18th-19th century

length: 20cm, width of buckle (without dangles), 7cm, weight: 216g

This fine belt buckle is very much in the Ottoman and Ottoman Greek style, a style that was also worn in the Ottoman Balkans. Ottoman empire rulers and
warriors wore belts and elaborate, over-sized buckles as symbols of their power and rank. The fashion for such ostentatious belts was largely over by the
mid-19th century. This example, being smaller than some of the larger examples, most likely was intended for a woman.

Possibly it was made at Saphrampolis (Safranbolu), what was then a predominantly Greek town in northern Anatolia, or Trebizond (Trabzon), on the Black Sea
coast of northeastern Turkey and with a similarly prominent Greek population. The sub-structure is made of copper which was then heavily plated with silver.
The decorative elements are of silver filigree which have been applied to the sub-structure and then gilded (gold-plated.)

Formed as two halves of gilded (gold-plated) silver with pierced-work and filigree, the two halves and central section are suspended with dangles that
terminate with pendant tear-drop plaques threaded with two small coral beads.

The two halves and central part are inset with large, domed, almond-shaped striated coral cabochons, plus foil-backed glass chips all in box settings (some
losses to the glass in the central section).

See Kok (2007, p. 116) and Borel (1994, p. 120) for related buckles.

References:
Borel, F., The Splendour of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels Collection, Thames & Hudson, 1994.
Elgood, R.,
The Arms of Greece: And her Balkan Neighbours in the Ottoman Period, Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Koc, A.,
et al, Istanbul: The City and the Sultan, Nieuwe Kerk, 2007.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4930

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