Choose Category:

Home > Auctions > 12th February 2015 > Pre-Viking Gold Beast-Head Pendant

Print page | Email lot to a friend

Back to previous page

Use mousewheel to zoom in and out, click to enlarge
Gallery loading...

LOT 0999

GBP (£) 12,000 - 18,000
EUR (€) 14,200 - 21,300
USD ($) 15,220 - 22,830

1 1/4" (4.61 grams, 29mm).

A hollow fabricated pendant comprising: transverse tubular suspension bar with beaded wire collars, granule and beaded wire detailing; waisted D-shaped plaque with granule and beaded wire bands, scooped eyelids and tubular eye sockets with black glass insets; old collector's accession number to the reverse.

From the Maurice Braham collection 1998; formerly in the collection of Lord Alastair McAlpine in the early 1980s.

Cf. similar gold beast-head finial on the Alfred Jewel in Webster, L. & Backhouse, J. The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900, London, 1991, item 260.

The pendant is one of a series of Middle Saxon prestige items bearing fierce dragon-head imagery, of which the Alfred Jewel is the most notable example. Similar heads, facing and in profile, appear on the Anglian 'Coppergate' helmet from York where they form terminals to the nasal and to the decorative raised border of the ocular. The design reflects the Insular Style of ornament, with raised bands to the brow and roundels for the eyes. Similar animal heads are incorporated in the decorative schemes of contemporary manuscripts such as the Book of Kells.