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Norman J. Finkelshteyn

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"Persian" belt plaques sold at Christies and similar "Chinese" plates
By Steven Baker

10th/11th Century Persian. Click for larger image
From the Christie's auction site, regarding this 10th/11th Persian belt:
"A suite of cast and gilt bronze belt fittings.
Probably North East Persia, 10th/11th Century.
Comprising nine cusped rectangular fittings each cast with scrolling paired tendrils terminating in bifurcated leaves, two long terminals each of similar form but with one rounded end, two further shorter terminal fittings, and two larger T-shaped panels each formed of three arms similar to the preceding panels radiating from a raised central boss, together with a similar T-shaped panel of a different model, and a clasp of plainer design, gilding rubbed, areas of light corrosion T-section elements 3in. (8.5cm.) wide."
Estimated price -- 13,000 - 15,000 British Pounds.

Given the above information, and the suggested layout, would yield a belt approximately 53cm long. So either the plates were more widely spaced, a number of the plates are missing, or this was for a child.

The following pictures are of belt pieces from the Liao Dynasty (a Turko-Mongol group that ruled parts of China during the period 907-1125) that I recently acquired at an EBAY auction.
The interesting thing about these is that some of the pieces have many features in common with the belt auctioned at Christies. None of these pieces are from the same belt but they do seem related in style.
Liao Dynasty belt buckle.

The belt buckle is about 3cm(1.2") wide and 4cm(1.6") long. As can been seen it is missing the hinged buckle plate. We could speculate as to the size of the missing piece based on other examples but the odds are we'd be wrong.

Liao Dynasty pendant strap join.

The T-shaped piece is about 3.5cm(1.4") wide and 4.5cm(1.8") long.
It would have joined the pendant straps to the main belt. The top three rivets would have been used to secure the plate to the main belt, with the middle rivet and the one on the pendant section securing the pendant strap.

Liao Dynasty belt plaque.

The rectangular belt plate about 2.5cm(1") wide and 3.7cm(1.5") long. It is a little wider than the same section on the T-shaped plate and is probably from a different belt. It seems it would have been secured to the belt with three rivets. It is possible however that the middle hole is either wear related or might have been used as a hanging point for a small item.

Liao Dynasty belt plaque.

The leaf-shaped plate is about 3cm(1.2") wide and 4.2cm(1.75") long. I'm assuming that this piece was used in combination with another plate of the same type to suspend a sword, bowcase or quiver from a belt.
(Editor's Note: As these plates are from different belts, this plate may also be an alternate type of suspension for pendant straps. NF)

This is a restructured and reorganised version of the information on Steppes Nomad Belt fittings presented at Steven Baker's Steppes Nomad Resource Site -

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