Girdle (1)

Caruso, Placido

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

This belt and clasp are characteristic of a type of costume ornament worn by the women of the Albanian community of Piana degli Albanesi, Sicily. The belt is known as a 'brezi', from the Albanian word 'brez', meaning 'race' or 'progeny', and the term refers to the function of the belt as a symbol of motherhood. A 'brezi' is an important element in the ritual leading up to marriage and subsequent motherhood, as the bride-to-be wears it as she displays her dowry. The clasp ('borchia') which fastens the belt is decorated with the image of the local patron saint, in this case St George.
The belt and clasp are traditionally the most important pieces of jewellery worn by the women of this community.

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  • Title: Girdle (1)
  • Creator: Caruso, Placido
  • Date Created: 1710
  • Location: Piana degli Albanesi
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 13 cm clasp only, Width: 14 cm clasp only, Depth: 2.5 cm clasp; approximate depth, Weight: 273.9 g clasp only, Length: 62.7 cm belt only; includes clasps at the end, Width: 5.5 cm belt, Depth: 1 cm belt; approximate depth, Weight: 582.7 g belt
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs E. M. Richards
  • Medium: Silver

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