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LOT 0829

Estimate
GBP (£) 8,000 - 12,000
EUR (€) 9,470 - 14,210
USD ($) 10,210 - 15,320

IRON AGE CELTIC ANTHROPOMORPHIC BROOCH
3RD CENTURY BC
2 3/4" (37 grams, 72mm).

A silver fibula of La Tène I type with broad hollow bow, returned foot, integral pin and spring; the bow with running comma-leaf motifs, the catchplate with rippled surface, the foot with discoid socket and miniature human mask above with bulging eyes and ribbed hair.

PROVENANCE:
Property of a German collector; acquired in the 1980s and 1990s.

LITERATURE:
Cf. Hattatt, R. Brooches of Antiquity, Oxford, 1987, item 724 for a less elaborate example of the type.

FOOTNOTES:
The human head was considered as extremely important in Celtic religion, as attested in both the archaeological record and literature. Classical authors comment on head-hunting and skulls have been found at many Celtic shrines or deposited in bogs and rivers as offerings. In Irish and Welsh vernacular sources the heads of heroes were believed to possess magical properties after death. The emphasis on the human head is well attested in Celtic imagery and La Tène metalwork consistently uses the head as a symbolic or decorative motif.

CONDITION