Dec 4, 2006

Twelve Medallions Mounted as a Necklace

Twelve Medallions Mounted as a Necklace

c. 1400

Enameled gold, precious stones, and pearls; some later additions with modern chain

Diameter: 4.5 x 1.6 cm (1 3/4 x 5/8 in.); Part 1: 70.9 cm (27 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1947.507


These medallions, which have loops on the backs, must have originally been sewn onto a garment or, more likely, a woman’s headpiece. In spite of the modern chain to which they are now attached, the medallions are unique items of feminine apparel from around 1400. Such items would have been well known at the courts of the Valois in Paris, Bourges, and Dijon. The central medallion with a “white lady” is enameled “in the round”––a new Parisian technique for enameling irregular or three-dimensional surfaces. Such white lady medallions are described in inventories of the period

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