Today we are pleased to offer for sale an extremely rare and utterly beautiful Ottoman Empire silver filigree belt! The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. The power and riches of the Ottoman Empire are reflected in the craftsmanship of treasures from the period. This stunning belt is a perfect example. This small and delicate silver niello piece was no doubt made for a very wealthy noblewoman or a cariye (an imperial concubine). Niello is a black mixture, usually of sulfur, copper, silver, and lead, used as an inlay on engraved or etched silver. The level of craftsmanship is breathtaking. Each section of the belt is executed in delicate and fine filigree or etched works. The buckle is the crown jewel of this belt. The undulating lobed form is three dimensional and encrusted in filigree designs with polished silver cabochons. The belt is made up of 15 decorated panel sections in addition to the buckle. Each section is separated by a hinge covered with an ornate floral hinge cover. The panels features an oval design framed in beaded filigree work. 7 of the sections feature a traditional Islamic floral motif; 6 of the sections depict a palace or large mansion, and 2 of the sections feature a floral motif with a cut out in the center for attaching the belt buckle (to adjust the size for wearer). The buckle and 13 of the 15 sections of the belt are stamped with an Arabic abjad silver hallmark; the buckle also has a signature and another hallmark. This belt dates to the early 19th century. It is believed to be a Turkish-made piece but based on other examples we have seen in literature and online research it could also be of Mesopotamian, Macedonian, Albanian, or Armenian origin (all part of the Ottoman empire). In wonderful antique condition considering age and fragility, with the usual light wear and patina commensurate with age. Three of the small hinge covers are missing (which does not detract from the beauty of the piece). This is a wonderful opportunity to own an exquisite museum-quality piece that is seldom seen for sale. A beautiful piece of art and history that will make a great addition to any fine collection. From the estate of a gentleman of significant means and education, we believe this piece to have been obtained during his world travels in his youth. Fresh to the market!
Dimensions (belt open): Length: 31 3/4″ Overall Height: 1 1/2″ Weight: 250 grams Will fit an approx. 28″ to 30″ Waist (there are 2 belt holes)
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