A kemer belt




Turkey, Anatolia


First half of the 19th century


Forging, chasing, filigree, gilding, carving, gem-setting


Copper, corals, glass, leather, silk


Length 923 mm; buckle 97x200 mm

The wide leather strip is covered with a rough silk fabric with a multi-colored geometric pattern. The massive buckle consists of three convex sections forged from copper. All sections are covered with gilt sheet copper decorated on the obverse side with filigree, big drop-shaped ribbed coral stones and small round colored glass cabochons in closed mounts. The side sections of the buckle are interconnected using a hook and a loop, which is located on the back of the central section.

COMMENT. Kemer is the general name for traditional Turkish belts that wore by both men and women. The presented example demonstrates the so-called Ottoman-Greek style, which was common since the mid-18th century both in Anatolia and in the Ottoman Balkan provinces. The fashion for such ostentatious belts was largely over by the mid-19th century. This example, being smaller than some other Ottoman-Greek belts, most likely was intended for a woman. The traditional centre for the production of such belts was Safranbolu (Saframpolis), which was then a predominantly a Greek city in northern Anatolia. At the same time, this belt is very similar in decoration to the weapons manufactured in Trabzon (Trebizond), another large craft centre with a considerable Greek population, which is located on the Anatolian Black Sea coast.