Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8648
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Starkey , Kathryn.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: “Tristan” Slippers: An Image of Adultery or a Symbol of Marriage? [Leather slippers decorated with iconography apparently representing the adulterous courtly couple Tristan and Isolde were popular in the urban centers of the Low Countries, and these shoes were perhaps given as bridal gifts or in betrothal ceremonies. Although the image of an adulterous couple may not seem appropriate for shoes associated with marriage, other iconography on the slippers (such as an orchard, falcon, chessboard, and literary inscriptions) and contemporary Dutch literature about the Tristan story indicate that the urban public was reappropriating elements of courtly culture. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Medieval Fabrications: Dress, Textiles, Clothwork, and Other Cultural Imaginings.  Edited by E. Jane Burns.  Palgrave, 2004.  Pages 35 - 53.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Adultery Art History- Decorative Arts Betrothal Bourgeoisie Clothing Courtly Behavior Courtly Love Dutch Literature Iconography Isolde (Literary Figure) Literature- Verse Marriage Material Culture Shoes Tristan (Literary Figure)
  • Geographic Area: Low Countries
  • Century: 14- 15
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  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Five Figures. Figure One Fragment of a leather slipper from Leiden, Netherlands, second half of fourteenth century (Amersfoort, Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek). Slipper depicts a man and a woman sitting ~~beneath a tree with a chessboard between them, and a Low German inscription frames the image: “altoes blide/so wat ic lide” (always happy, despite how much I~~suffer). Figure Two Fragment of leather slipper from Dordrecht, Netherlands, second half of the fourteenth century, depicting a man and a woman sitting beneath a tree with a chessboard between them (Amersfoort, Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek). Figure Three Fragment of leather slipper from Mechelen, Belgium, first half of the fifteenth century, depicting a man and a woman sitting beneath a tree with a chessboard between them (Amersfoort, Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek). Figure Four Fragment of leather slipper from Velkenissse, Netherlands, circa 1400 C. E., ~~depicting a man and a woman sitting beneath a tree with a chessboard between them (Amersfoort, Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek). A Low German inscription above the image reads: “entruer night/mich wundert” (don’t be sad/I wonder). Figure Five Fragment of leather slipper from Nieuwland,~~Netherlands, circa 1450 C. E., depicting a ~~man and a woman sitting beneath a tree with a chessboard between them (Amersfoort, Netherlands, Rijksdienst voor ~~het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek).
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  • Abstract:
  • Author's Affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2004.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 1403961867
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