Pair of Miniature Shoes

Artist/maker unknown, Dutch

Geography:
Made in Delft, Netherlands, Europe

Date:
1740-1770

Medium:
Tin-glazed earthenware with polychrome decoration

Dimensions:
Each: 2 3/8 × 1 3/4 × 4 7/8 inches (6 × 4.4 × 12.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1882-489,491

Credit Line:
The Bloomfield Moore Collection, 1882

Social Tags [?]

There are currently no user tags associated with this object.


[Add Your Own Tags]

Label:
Miniature ceramic shoes like the ones seen here were often sold at annual fairs and markets. Although most examples are undated, there are surviving shoes that do bear dates and initials, indicating that they were offered as gifts on special occasions. The rather erotic connotation shoes had in the seventeenth century suggests that they might have been exchanged by young lovers as a symbol of good luck in marriage.

Additional information:
  • PublicationDelft Ceramics at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Miniature ceramic shoes like these often were sold at annual fairs and markets. Although most examples are undated, some are dated and bear initials, indicating that they were offered as gifts on special occasions. The erotic connotation attached to shoes in the seventeenth century as well as in the present indicates that such ceramic shoes may have been exchanged by lovers as a symbol of good luck in marriage. Miniature shoes remained in fashion from the third quarter of the seventeenth century until the late eighteenth century. This miniature pair was formed in a mold and decorated in polychrome with floral motifs applied in reserve on a deep blue ground. The rims and crossed straps are highlighted in yellow, with a yellow sunburst motif in place of a buckle, in a design reminiscent of Chinese embroidery on blue silk.

    For dressing informally at home, men and women wore slippers in a variety of materials. Their uppers were usually embroidered, as suggested by the painted decoration on these earthenware miniatures. The heels were covered in blue leather, which is represented on these ceramic shoes by a dotted outline. It was not until much later that a distinction was made between left and right shoes, which explains why both examples in this pair are identical. Ella B. Schaap, from Delft Ceramics at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2003), p. 58.