Piece of the Month III

Dada a extensão deste artigo, achei por bem publicar as versões inglesa e portuguesa em separado. Para a versão portuguesa, cliquem aqui.


Collection: Centro de Arqueologia de Lisboa (PF.00/R9-10[1316])

Dates: 15th century (second half)

Provenance: Praça da Figueira, Lisbon

Local of Production: Unknown

Dimensions: 6cm in height × 5.5cm in width

Weight: Unknown

Materials: Molded copper alloy

Description: This beautiful and very preserved T-shaped belt fastener, presented in the catalogue of the exhibition “Lisboa 1415 Ceuta” (p. 98), is a great specimen of a 15th century Portuguese fashion for belts fastened not with buckles but with a fastener linking both sides of the belt together, much like a modern cufflink.

The T-fastener found in Praça da Figueira, Lisbon.
Passador 2
Trombeteiro na tapeçaria “Assalto a Arzila”, com cinto de passador em T.

This type of belt doesn’t seem to have been worn anywhere outside of 15th  entury Iberia – even though there are similar archaeological findings all the way from the Roman, Visigothic and Mozarab periods  [1]. The resurgence and spread of this type of belt might have been influenced by Nasrid fashion in Granada.

Apart from two or three foreign visual sources that use of this type of belt as an ‘exotic’ element [2] in biblical scenes, all depictions of the belt used in everyday life, as well as archaeological finds, are found this side of the Pyrenees. In Portugal, in addition to several finds all over the country [3], we have depictions of these belts both in the Pastrana tapestries and in the Saint Vincent Panels.

Unfortunately, in spite of their uniqueness and regional character, T-fastener belts seem to have enjoyed little success: though they were extensively worn during the 15th and 16th centuries, they seem to have disappeared completely by the 17th century.


[1] See Marinetto Sénchez, P. (2013). Armas y Enseres para la defensa Nazarí. Alhambra: Museo de Alhambra, p. 51. This hypothesis still requires aditional research.

[2] The best example of this is Matteo di Giovanni’s Massacre of the Innocents, painted between 1450 and 1500, at present on display at the Museo di Capodimonte.

[3] We have them from Coimbra, Lisbon, Beja, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo (Guarda), Amares (Braga), from the Fortress of São João Baptista da Foz (Porto)…



Banha da Silva, R., Teixeira, A., Villada Paredes, F. (Coords.) (2015). Lisboa 1415 Ceuta [exhibition catalogue]. Lisboa: Ciudad Autonoma de Ceuta/Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

Barroca, V. (2003). “Sobre a cronologia dos Passadores em T”. In Arqueologia, 19. Porto: GEAP, pp. 147-152

Fareleira, L. (2014). O Estudo dos “Outros Materiais” provenientes do Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro [Masters dissertation]. Coimbra: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra

Marinetto Sénchez, P. (2013). Armas y Enseres para la defensa Nazarí. Alhambra: Museo de Alhambra

Martins, C. (2001). “Sobre a Cronologia dos ‘Passadores em T’ e um conjunto cerâmico dos sécs. XV/XVI (Escarigo, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo)”. In O Arqueólogo Português, IV (19). Lisboa: Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, pp. 247-258


2 thoughts on “Piece of the Month III

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