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Devotional Pendant. Gold, enamel, 5.5 x 4 cm. Spain, first half of the 17th centuryDeborah Elvira (stand 267) – TEFAF 2015 Antiques (13-22 March 2015)

Depicting Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena.

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Double Reliquary Pendant. Tortoise shell, silver, rock crystal, paper, bone and stone. Open 7.5 x 11.5 cm. Spain, 17th centuryDeborah Elvira (stand 267) – TEFAF 2015 Antiques (13-22 March 2015)

Depicting Saint Peter of Verona and Our Lady of Carmen


Magic belt. Jet, silver, textile, enamel, rock crystal. Length 73 cm. Castile, 17th century, with 10th- to 19th-century elementsDeborah Elvira (stand 267) – TEFAF 2015 Antiques (13-22 March 2015)

A magic belt is an amulet used to protect a child against the evil eye and disease. It was created with the magic elements available and enriched through presents and heirlooms, including a wide variety of charms. However, fixed elements such as the fig (amulet in the shape of a hand), the chestnut and some magic material (jet, coral, crystal) were always present. In 16th- and 17th-century Spain, they were widely spread among all social classes and frequently illustrated in royal paintings (Ana Mauricia of Austria in Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales in Madrid and the Infanta María Ana in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, both painted by Pantoja de la Cruz in 1602 and 1607 respectively, are wearing belts with jet). Towards the 19th century, these amulets were relegated to rural areas and associated with folk superstition: the majority of them were dismounted but some have survived in churches or convents, where they were presented to the image of the Virgin, probably as an ex voto.

In the characteristic syncretic way the amulets were used in Spain since medieval times, our piece consists of 14th- century Islamic textile, enriched with 28 silver coins (the majority from Al Andalus, 10th -14th century, and two foreign additions from the 18th and 19th century). Attached are three pendants: a chestnut with little figs and a Virgin medal, a 17th century crystal skull with an end of a rosary and memento mori, and a jet fig. All are suspended by jet rosary beads, carved with masculine and feminine faces with Death in the back. The representation of the left hand and the carving of the crescent are associated with femininity and the belt was indeed given to a virgin in the church of Herrera de Pisuerga (Castile), where it was acquired in 1945.

This piece has not been restored, however the embellishment with the 19th century clasps and medal, the two Moroccan coins and the thread used to secure some of them, suggest that it was repaired sometime towards the end of the 18th – beginning of the 19th century, before being offered to the virgin.

Provenance: Acquiered in Herrera de Pisuerga (Palencia), 1945; Subastas Segre, 2005; Private collection, where?

Literature: Rosa Rodríguez de Castro, Ana de Toro Boels, Subasta de Amuletos y Joyas Populares, Segre, 2005, p. 52-53


Rosary with medal showing the Immaculate Conception. Jet, silver. Lenght 62 cm. Diameter medal 7 cm. Leon or Santiago de Compostela, 17th centuryDeborah Elvira (stand 267) – TEFAF 2015 Antiques (13-22 March 2015)

Provenance: Collection Bosch

Deborah Elvira. Director: Deborah Elvira. European historic jewellery and works of art.

The gallery is situated in a charming little town in the Mediterranean coast, between Barcelona and Valencia. We deal in Spanish and European historic jewellery, from early Medieval to the 18th century, with a special attention to the Spanish Golden Age, the 17th C.