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Two Continental Silver Chastity Devices

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Two Continental Silver Chastity Devices

- Item No.

Item Details

  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
    Continental
These remarkably rare and intriguing 19th-century silver adolescent chastity devices are designed to accommodate the male and female anatomies. Perforated and featuring wire-work rims, these devices were most likely fitted into a leather harness-like belt and meant to be worn by adolescents to discourage "self-abuse," which was considered harmful in Western medicine. Though restrictive by nature, these devices do provide access for urination. Chastity belts typically conjure images of jealous husbands and medieval torture, but in fact, items such as these were mentioned quite often in medical journals as a prevention to auto-erotic stimulation in children and adolescents. Seen as a medical necessity, such devices were used from the 1700s to the 1930s. It is almost unheard of to find such excellent, 19th-century examples as these, especially in such immaculate condition.

Circa 1850

4oz. 10dwt

5" long

The first documented reference to the term "chastity belt" is credited to R'gine Pernoud, a Medieval historian who, in the 14th century explained that a simple cord worn around the waist was a symbol of chastity (such as the robes of a monk or priest - the cord around his waist is a symbol of his vows of chastity and purity). According to modern myth, the chastity belt was originally used as an anti-temptation device during the Crusades. It is believed that when the knight was away from his young wife, he would force her to wear the belt day and night. However, chastity belts which claimed to have been manufactured around that time have since been proven to be 19th century replicas, curiosities or fakes, and were the product of a purely Victorian fascination with such devices.

Two chastity belts believed to be authentic have been exhibited at the Musée de Cluny in Paris. The first, a simple velvet-covered hoop and plate of iron, was supposedly worn by Catherine de' Medici. The other-said to have been worn by Anna of Austria-is a hinged pair of plates held about the waist by metal straps, featuring intricately etched figures of Adam and Eve. There are other such belts at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg and the British Museum in London. Most have been removed from display to avoid any further embarrassment because the authenticity of these belts as Renaissance devices has since been called into question.

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Price: $22,850
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