Belt made of spiked metal, Europe, 1501-1700

Made:
1501-1700 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Penitent's belt, of looped iron wire semicircular, English or European, 16th to 17th centuries

This belt of spiked metal was worn around the waist or thigh, as a type of penance. Penance in the form of prayers is carried out by some Christians in the hope of being forgiven for their sins. Christian belief during 1501-1800 taught that illness and disease were the result of sin. Penance was carried out by fasting and, in some cases, by inflicting physical harm on one’s self.

At the time of the Black Death – and during later outbreaks of plague – groups of fanatical penitents would travel from town to town, beating themselves, wearing such spiked devices and flagellating their skin. These deeds were presented as acts of repentance for the world’s sins – the penitents believed God was punishing these sins by means of the plague.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A634711
type:
belt
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.