- Museum number
Belt clasp ('pafta'), nickel silver (paktong), in two halves with concealed 'hook and eye' clasp forming a central element with pointed top and two side parts of arrow-head shape. One half consists of the central element joined to one of the side parts; the other side piece is separate and is engraved with the initials AC and date 1905. The clasp is decorated in repoussé work in relief with a floral design and a central boss with floral motif on each of the three elements. fastened with a hook and eye, the hook and eye cast and applied separately as are the sides of each half. At the back two copper alloy bars for attaching a fabric belt.
- Production date
Height: 13.50 centimetres
Width: 26 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Eth Doc. 1892, no. 85j: information from donor:
Silversmiths work. Place of manufacture unknown, but before silversmiths became established in Macedonia, in Skopje (Uskib), Bitola (Monastir),Veles, Gostivar, Ohrid and others, and in Serbia, Prizren (Kosovo), most items were imported from Constantinople and later Kotor (Croatia) on the Adriatic coast. The pafta is in two sections linked by 'hook and eye' and was decorated by beatmng, pressing and chasing usually on copper and then silverplated. An eliptical central section with a pointed top and an indentation on each side is linked to a side piece with an 'arrow-head' shape, the other identical piece links onto it. It is mounted onto a special belt. Sometimes more than one was worn. It has a floral pattern and each section has a floral boss. The item has a rather oriental appearance. Similar buckles became in common use in Europe and survive in the UK in the uniform worn by nurses.
The pafta would usually form part of a bride's dowry - the woman's jewellery was part of the family's portable wealth as in turbulent times there was destruction of property and movement of population. The wearing of jewellery also had symbolic implications. The Mijaks are a matriarchal society of Albanian descent.
Religion: Macedonian Orthodox.
For other parts of this attire see: 127: jacket; 128: shirt; 129: bridal sleeves; 130: waistcoat; 131: coat; 132: upper sash; [135: socks;] 137: head decoration; 138: coin chain.
Information supplementary to Eth Doc:
For a detailed description of how this item was worn as part of a whole costume from Galićnik, see Eu1997,04.131.
Clasps of this type were also worn in south-eastern Serbia, see Jelena Tešić, 'Bridal Jewellery among Serbs in XIX and first half of the XX century', exhibition catalogue, Ethnographic MUseum Belgrade 2003, p. 74 and cat. 147, p. 127, for a closely similar clasp from Balta Berilovac, Serbia.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2011 21 Jan-11 Sep, London, British Museum, Room 2, Traditional Jewellery and Dress from the Balkans
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Obtained for the donor in the 1960s by Živko Firfov of the Folklore Institute in Skopje.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number