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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Scandinavian Pre-Viking Box Brooch with Interlaced Panels

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LOT 0383

GBP (£) 800 - 1,000
EUR (€) 960 - 1,200
USD ($) 970 - 1,220

Opening Bid
£720 (EUR 861; USD 877) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

A bronze hollow-formed disc-shaped brooch with a central dot around which are four S-shaped birds with large eyes, curved beaks and bodies formed from interlaced lines; the outer sidewall with line decoration and remains of safety chain fixing hole; remains of a pin hinge and catchplate to the reverse. 1 3/8 in. (17.4 grams, 35 mm).

UK gallery, acquired in the 2000s.
Property of an English gentleman.

Cf. MacGregor, A. et al., A Summary Catalogue of the Continental Archaeological Collections (Roman Iron Age, Migration Period, Early Medieval), Oxford, 1997, item 2.2; cf. Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 53.48.6.

This Scandinavian Vendel period brooch precedes the Viking Era both in history and art style, as we can observe the use of box and disc brooches in both eras. There were lively contacts with continental Europe, and the Scandinavians continued to export iron, fur and slaves; in return they acquired art and innovations, such as the stirrup. Some of the riches were probably acquired through the control of mining districts and the production of iron. The rulers had troops of mounted elite warriors with costly armour, since their graves were found with stirrups and saddle ornaments of birds of prey in gilded bronze with encrusted garnets. The geometric and interlaced patter was popular especially in Scandinavia, although we can find ornaments with similar motif among continental Germanic people. Abstractly designed small brooches like this were fashionable until larger and more massive Viking oval and drum brooches replaced them.