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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooch

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LOT 0368

GBP (£) 1,200 - 1,700
EUR (€) 1,390 - 1,960
USD ($) 1,520 - 2,160

Current bid: £242 (+bp*)
(7 Bids, Reserve met)

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(7 Bids, Reserve met)   |   Current bid: £242
4 1/2 in. (82 grams, 11.5 cm).

Comprising: trapezoidal headplate with beast-head spurs to the upper angles and concentric panels of Style I ornament; shallow bow with central cell and garnet insert; long footplate with lateral lappets and central lozenge; facing mask above a trapezoidal bar finial; pin-lugs and catch to the reverse. [No Reserve]

Found U.K.
British private collection, acquired by 2000.

Cf. Hines, J., A New Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooches, London, 1997, items 11(a) Linton Heath for headplate, 17(b) Rothley, for foot.

The meaning of the 'facing mask' motif is probably related to the profile masks so frequently used in Style I art, where the 'pellet' eye is enclosed by an arched frame: the 'facing mask' repeats this motif to produce a pair of eyes in a doubled 'bow'. An element of visual 'riddling' is no doubt present: the design is neither one thing nor the other, but includes elements of both.
Distribution of great square-headed brooches was initially concentrated along the valleys of the Rivers Trent, Thames and Severn, though it was later confined to the East Midlands and East Anglia (Hines, 1997, figs. 101, 102).