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Gilt bronze strap-end

500/599

British Museum

British Museum

This unique strap-end is decorated with two animals in profile within plain and beaded borders. It was secured at the end of a leather tab or belt by means of two rivets in the square end. Straps with metal mounts at the end may have been fed through a buckle loop, as on a modern belt, or simply suspended from a belt or girdle in a decorative fashion.

The two animals are good examples of Style I decoration showing quadrupeds. They each have a bossed eye emphasized by an angular band and a foreleg extended to the front. The rear hip joints are also easily spotted, as are the frond-like feet. The crisp casting and clear realization of the animal ornament are characteristic of the highest quality workmanship found in Kent around AD 500.

Flat, narrow strap-ends are a Late Antique form that developed in the late fourth and fifth century in the Eastern Roman Empire. In continental Europe, strap-ends were generally made in silver or gold with garnet cloisonné, and plain silver examples are found in Kent. The application of Style I animals to this strap end may have been done by an artist familiar with quoit brooch style ornament.

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Details

  • Title: Gilt bronze strap-end
  • Date Created: 500/599
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 5.50cm; Width: 1.50cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: chip-carved; gilded
  • Subject: animal
  • Registration number: 1893,0601.237
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Sarre
  • Period/culture: Early Anglo-Saxon
  • Material: copper alloy; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Durden, John. Previous owner/ex-collection Durden, Henry

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