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Belt clasp (pafta or kolen), Bulgaria

late 1800s

British Museum

British Museum

Belt clasp, copper alloy (?), formed of with two flared rectangular side panels with repoussé decoration of a rosette with foliate motifs, and a central cast oval element with birds eating from a plant in a vase. The clasp fastens with a hook and eye, and an additional chain and pin that slots through a tongue at the back to keep it rigid. The sides and the hook and eye are cast and soldered on, with two copper bars of different widths to hold the fabric belt at the back applied separately.

Text from Eth Doc 1836 (entry 256): These buckles are made of plates in the shape of a trapezium and with a pointed tip. The small oblong buckle features a bird motif. End of the 19th century.
Information supplementary to Eth Doc:
For similar clasps see, S. Blagoeva and M. Veleva, 'Bulgarian National Costume and Folk Jewellery', Sofia 1983, p. 154, fig. 72; Blagoeva, 'Bulgarian buckles and belts, nd, p. 10 top. This is very finely worked piece likely to have been made by a town silversmith. These large clasps are all bridal gifts and the motif of the birds eating is a traditional marriage symbol.

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Details

  • Title: Belt clasp (pafta or kolen), Bulgaria
  • Date Created: late 1800s
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 25 centimetres Height: 10.7 centimetres (at the centre)
  • Provenance: Given by the Bulgarian Government
  • Production place: Bulgaria
  • Copyright: © The Trustees of The British Museum
  • British Museum link: Eu1971,01.256.a-b

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