Spain (Castile), 17th century
Brocaded velvet, gold thread, silver, enamel, jet, rock crystal, castaña de Indias
Textile: late 13th century, coins and medals: 10th -19th century Weight 226.5 grams; belt 735 × 30-50 mm; figa 90 × 30 x 14 mm; skull 40 × 41 × 35 mm; nut 62 × 30 × 116 mm

The belt is formed of a brocaded red velvet textile with discs of gold thread. Twenty-eight silver coins are sewn onto the belt (two are eighteenth-century Moroccan, the rest from al-Andalus, a single coin dating from the tenth century and the others to the fourteenth century, and with a single nineteenth-century silver medal). Three pendants are suspended from the belt and attached to parts of a rosary made of silver links, the mounts with black and white enamel and round jet beads. The jet beads are carved with stylized foliage and memento mori, with the head of Christ or the Virgin Mary and a skull. Three attached pendants are a tropical nut (castaña de Indias) with silver figa pendants and a single Virgin Mary pendant, a carved rock crystal skull, and an ornate fist with figa carved in jet. The belt appears to have been further embellished with hooked clasps. The thread used to secure some of these embellishments suggests that the belt was repaired towards the end of the eighteenth or the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Originally gifted to the Virgin in the Church of Herrera de Pisuerga (Palencia) in 1945; then Madrid, Subastas Segre, 2005, no. 4; private European collection.


Price$100,000 - $150,000

Exhibited at

The thing of mine I have loved the best: Meaningful Jewels
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