Ornament in the form of a lady's stirrup (Estribo)
Object Place: Argentina
Overall: 9.4 x 9.8 x 21.6 cm (3 11/16 x 3 7/8 x 8 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The square-toe shoe has filigree floral decoration across the front; a long-stemmed flower on the sole sports a jagged engraved border; the workable arch and eye for stirrup feature cast and chased leafy ornament.
The origin of this form, a so-called lady’s stirrup, is unclear, although apparently such objects were made in great quantities and variety during the mid- to late nineteenth century. The stirrup has a functioning arch and eye that enable it to pivot and hang. Such forms are rarely found in pairs, leading some scholars to argue that women who rode sidesaddle had need of only one stirrup. Nevertheless, this example and most others show no wear, and the small size precluded the use of a shoe. Rather than being a functional form, it was probably an elegantly worked souvenir, keepsake, or talisman.
This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.
Collected in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund P. Graves between 1898 and 1913.
Gift of Miss Ellen Graves, Mrs. Samuel Cabot and Mrs. Roger Ernst in memory of their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Edmund P. Graves