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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Scandinavian Pre-Viking Gilt Silver Brooch with Entwined Animals

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LOT 0369

GBP (£) 2,000 - 3,000
EUR (€) 2,330 - 3,500
USD ($) 2,830 - 4,240

Bid History: 5   |   Current bid: £1,600

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Bid History: 5   |   Current bid: £1,600

Scandinavian Pre-Viking Gilt Silver Brooch with Entwined Animals

7th century AD

A gilt-silver disc-shaped brooch with quadrilobe design formed from interlaced lines with four 'eyes' and four pellet-in-annulet features, within a beaded border; the reverse with pin, catchplate and two further loops, through one of which a silver wire with twisted joint ring runs. 29.3 grams, 66mm (2 1/2"). Very fine condition. [No Reserve]

From a central London collection; previously in a European collection formed 1979-1989.

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; Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, 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 pattern was popular especially in Scandinavia, although we can find ornaments with similar motifs among continental Germanic people. Abstractly designed brooches like this were fashionable until larger and more massive Viking oval and drum brooches replaced them.