This is a traditional marriage belt made in South Germany in the late Seventeenth or early Eighteenth Century. Such items became fashionable in artistic circles during the second half of the Nineteenth Century: unusual hand-made pieces of folk jewellery were considered by many to have a greater spontaneity and interest compared with the precision and repetitiveness of conventional machine-made jewellery. Rossetti encouraged this trend with the jewellery he included in his paintings.
Jane Morris, known as Janey, was the wife of the artist, designer and socialist William Morris. She was often painted by the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and in his painting Astarte Syriaca, of 1877, she is wearing this girdle.
Some of Jane Morris's jewels were bequeathed to the V&A by her daughter May in 1938, including this girdle.