In Middle Ages Europe, the wearing of a brooch was very fashionable, with the buckle pinned at the neck as a fastener. Medieval brooches were modelled in different shapes, with designs raging from simple to more elaborate ones, as seen on this fine example. Some brooches would have been inscribed with religious or devotional preyers, or with messages referring to love and friendship. Popular gemstones used to decorate such miniature piece of jewellery were usually pearls, amber, corral or jet, as they were easily sourced in Europe. Royalty and nobility would have worn jewellery produced from silver or gold with gemstones to display their wealth. Many piece of Medieval jewellery have been recovered featuring clasped hands, either as a symbol of marriage or, as seen on this fine brooch, as a symbol of faith and devotion. Some more elaborate brooches of this type show the hands placed in such a position that would suggest they may have held small gemstones or pearls.
Late Medieval Silver Praying Hands Brooch
A stunning Late Medieval silver-gilt brooch featuring a circular shape with the slightly pointed top ending in a pair of clasped hands in prayer. The brooch’s hoop has been further enriched by a geometrical decoration, consisting of alternating squares, rendered in low relief. A free moving pin is attached to the side of the brooch by a loop. The back of the brooch is unadorned. This brooch is a more elaborate version of the popular annular brooch type, recovered since Anglo-Saxon times.
Provenance: From a private Wiltshire jewellery collection; acquired on the UK and European art markets between 1986 and 1994.
Condition: Excellent Condition, some loss of gilding.