MEDIEVAL HAT-BADGES

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A Medieval Hat badge example is a fifteenth-century Flemish jewel of gold, representing a ” pelican in her piety” standing upon a scroll, and set with a ruby and a small pointed diamond. In the Victoria and Albert Museum is a circular gold enseigne of open-work enriched with Gothic foliations. The outer rim is set with seven small rubies. In the center is an antique onyx cameo representing a lion. It is Spanish work of the second half of the fifteenth century. These two jewels are clearly hat-ornaments, but it is often difficult to distinguish between a brooch or touche intended to be worn upon the dress and a hat-brooch, though the latter can, as a rule, be distinguished by its form or by its subject.

The enseigne was sometimes employed like a brooch for fastening a plume decoration, but as a rule served as an independent ornament, and appears on the paintings, sculpture, and tapestry of the fifteenth century attached to the side of the head-gear. It became a jewel of still greater importance in the sixteenth century.

The talismanic properties associated with it procured at the shrines were extended to many objects of base metal, as brooches and finger-rings, which had been placed in contact with relics of saints, or blessed at their shrines.

Brooches and rings also of gold and silver bear talismanic inscriptions. A common inscription is the names of the Three Kings— as on the Glenlyon brooch—which originated in pilgrimages to the shrine of the Kings of the East in the church of Sant’ Eustorgio at Milan, or more probably to that in Cologne Cathedral.

The names of the ” Three Kings of Collein” were considered to be a charm against epilepsy or the ” falling sickness.” Many personal ornaments of base metal, however, are quite unconnected with any religious practice or with pilgrims’ signs, for objects of pewter are often merely replicas of more precious jewels in gold and silver, and must have been worn by the poorer classes.

The fact that several are plated or washed with silver shows that they were intended to pass for the real objects. Yet they are of considerable importance, since we find among them types of ornaments which do not exist in the precious metals.

It may be suggested that some were made as models for real articles of jewelry; but we are, unfortunately, not in possession of evidence (such as can be produced in connection with the jewelry of the Renaissance) which can offer any likelihood that this is actually the case with these medieval ornaments.

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Author: connielimon2014

Bead Jewelry Artisan, mother of one daughter and grandmother of two grandsons, daughter of Korean War Veteran.

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