- Museum number
Copper alloy clasp in two leaf-shaped parts with repoussé foliate motifs round the edges and set with mother-of-pearl plaques carved with a bird motif. Hook and eye fastening, hidden beneath a cast oval plaque with crowned eagle (?) attached to one of the halves. Two vertical bars at rear for attachment of fabric belt.
- Production date
Height: 6.70 centimetres (each)
Length: 10.50 centimetres (a))
Length: 9.80 centimetres (b))
Width: 18.70 centimetres
Depth: 2 centimetres (each)
- Curator's comments
- For similar clasps with bird designs see S. Georgieva and D. Boučinski, L’Orfèvrerie Ancienne À Vraca, Sofia 1959, p.131. See also S. Blagoeva, 'Bulgarian Folk Jewellery', Sofia nd, p. 21 for a similar clasp from Vraza; S. Blagoeva, 'Bulgarian buckles and belts', Sofia nd, p. 20, for a similar clasp from Kotel, and S. Blagoeva and M. Veleva.'Bulgarian National Folk Costumes and Jewellery', Sofia 1983, pp. 162-3 for a range of similar examples with mother-of-pearl from various parts of Bulgaria. See also N.M. Kalashnikova, 'The collection of Belts in the Russian Museum of Ethnography', St Petersburg 2014, p. 258, for another similar example described as from Kotel.
The birds may have been carved for the Bulgarian market in the Holy Land, a centre of mother-of-pearl work for the Christian pilgrimage trade (suggestion kindly made by Jane Perry). The leaf shape, a 'boteh' or curved palm leaf, was a motif derived from Mughal India and used throughout the Islamic world. For a similar clasp from Jerusalem, attached to a fabric belt dated 1777, see 'Relics of the Past. Treasures of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Population Exchange', exhibition catalogue, Benaki Museum, Athens 2011, no. 38.
- On display (G43/dc13)
- Exhibition history
2011 21 Jan-11 Sep, London, British Museum, Room 2, Traditional Jewellery and Dress from the Balkans
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased by donor in 1950s and 1960s.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number