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Dating engagement and marriage customs from the 16th century

The many ceramic plates that feature images of beautiful women, with inscriptions that generally give a name followed by the word bella, also fall into this category of art objects tied to the rituals of courtship and betrothal.A plate from Urbino or Castel Durante with the bust of a woman and a cartellino indicating that she is LIVIA BELLA (1975.1.1084) is a prime example of coppe amatorie, or “love gifts,” made until at least the eighteenth century.

The textual inspiration for these images is evident from the fragmentary but evocative inscriptions that animate the line drawings on the ceramics, words that bespeak a familiarity with this currency of expression.Though the question of whether these beauties represent portraits of actual women has not been resolved, scholars suggest convincingly that they are linked to a literary genre of catalogues of illustrious men and women that flourished in Renaissance cities like Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Naples after being revived from classical antiquity by Petrarch and Boccaccio.These plates were most likely commissioned by male suitors as gifts for their intended brides, and, along with rings, played an important role in cementing the union between a man and woman. FEDE (I give you my hand, give me your faith [i.e., the ring]), a concise description of the marriage ceremony.The symbol of clasped hands appears on a variety of objects besides rings. The placing of the ring on the bride’s finger is illustrated in cassone and spalliera paintings, such as Apollonio di Giovanni’s Story of Esther (18.117.2), suggesting the ring’s strong symbolic power. When the beautiful widow Lusanna attempted to argue that her boyfriend Giovanni had actually married her, she stated that he gave her a ring, and when she explained through her lawyer that Giovanni later turned around and married another woman, the proof of his marriage to this other woman was that it took place “in a public ceremony with an exchange of vows and rings and with other customary solemnities.” Rings were also an important part of Jewish marriage customs.A ceramic inkstand features images of a man and woman facing each other, with a pair of clasped hands in a roundel between them. A Jewish betrothal ring fashioned of gold filigree and brightly colored enamel (17.190.996) features the characteristic rooflike shape that represents the shelter that marriage and family were intended to provide.Between the archer and her mark, a heart, pierced by two arrows, rests on a footed dish.But the symbol of the heart pierced by an arrow—understood metonymically as the weapon generally deployed by Cupid, son of Venus, to ensnare his victims—is also one of hope.A tin-glazed earthenware, or maiolica, plate from Deruta features the inscription EL MIO CORE É FERITO P[ER] VOE (my heart is wounded by you).On it, a barefoot woman seen in profile carries a footed dish in which a heart, pierced by two arrows, rests.The inscription ME DOL L’INFAMIA TUA: PIU CHE [I]L MORIRE (your infamy hurts me more than death) appears on a sign in the foreground of a landscape in which a woman points an accusatory finger—and a dagger—at a man whose arms are bound to a tree.A crespina, or fluted bowl, from Faenza features a scene of amor crudel (cruel love): seated in a landscape, a woman wields a dagger in one hand, and in the other she holds a heart she is about to pierce with her weapon.


  1. There is no date given on the cards, but they are most likely from the late 19th century. the missing card is simply sat somewhere in the Harper Stereograph Collection of the Boston Public Library – we shall enquire – but for now, at least, the twenty-four stages from courtship to marriage. Showing the Engagement Ring.

  2. In its roundness, the engagement ring, a custom dating back to the Ancient Rome, is believed to represent eternity and everlasting union. God, the man and the woman, while the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century CE re-valued marriage as a merely life-long and monogamous covenant between a man and a woman.

  3. Oct 13, 2014. Jewish wedding rings were first documented as an official part of the wedding ceremony in 10th century, though they probably date back much further. rings of medieval Europe were ceremonial engagement rings, and that another plain ring would have also been used during the wedding ceremony.

  4. Nov 9, 2015. 9 Slavic Rituals & Customs of Ye Olden Days - Whether it is the harvest, celebrating fire, water, a new birth, a marriage ceremony, or death – Slavs knew how to. An important part of the funeral ceremony were the feasts, called strawa in the old Polish tradition, and from the 16th century on, the Latin stypa.

  5. Hotels. dating from the 16th century. Bars like Bor Pen Yang and Sam Lo have a range of people. Identification. View photos of singles, Personal Ads, and Matchmaking in Lao. History in Laos; History in Thailand; Hmong Wedding Ceremony. Women in Laos; Two young Lao women in traditional clothes. Gender Culture.

  6. At times while doing genealogy research, I've noticed that young couples married at a very young age and wondered if there was an error in the dates. Recently I read that the minimum marriage age was set in the Ecclesiastic Law of 1686. It was 14 for boys and 13 for girls in the 16th century. In 1721 it was raised to 21 and.

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