Antique Art Nouveau metal belt sash, circa 1900. This metal belt sash features three cupids emerging from three Calla Lilies. The central winged cupid is larger with one arm raised and one arm down. He is facing right with his left leg bent. He stands within a Calla Lilly where the flower’s stamen is evident. The two smaller winged cupids are identical. They also face to their right but have both arms up and their right knee is bent but their legs are facing forward. The smaller cupids also stand within Calla Lilies but the stamen on these smaller flowers are not visible. The three cupids are connected together by a metal chain and have bars on the back where they can be sewn to a belt. Remnants of black fabric remain attached to the central cupid. There is no damage to the piece. Some loss of finish as pictured.
Symbolism was very important in the decorative arts at the turn of the century. Mythological symbolism is prominent in 19th century jewelry, especially cameos. This Late 19th century, early 20th century piece takes a more playful approach to mythology. Cupid as the god of love is unarmed, no bow and arrow for him. He stands within a Calla Lily, both a symbol of purity and faithfulness and a flower with linkage to Venus, goddess of both love and lust, who legend says was jealous of the flower’s beauty. So did this belt symbolize faithful love freely given? Or love unconstrained by convention? The ambiguity is delightful. The meaning will be left to the new owner.
Size: Central cupid a little over 3 inches. Small cupids 2.25 inches. Total approximately 14.5 inches
Condition: No damage to metal. Some loss of finish as pictured. Please see photos.
Antique Art Nouveau Metal Belt Sash, Cupid and Calla Lily, Circa 1900