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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Viking Age Silver Gripping Beasts Pendant

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LOT 0343

GBP (£) 1,800 - 2,400
EUR (€) 2,100 - 2,800
USD ($) 2,260 - 3,020

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1 3/4 in. (12.4 grams, 43 mm).

Composed of an openwork discoid body with integral T-shaped tubular loop; raised gusseted rim enclosing a pair of S-shaped beasts with billetted bodies and comma-shaped tails, enmeshed gripping paws clutching the rim and their own bodies.

Acquired on the European art market in the 1990s.
Ex property of a German gentleman.

Cf. Graham-Campbell, J., Viking Art, London, 2013, item 98; cf. Korshun, V.E., Yazcheskye Priveski Drevnei Rusi X-XIV Vekov, Volume III, Moscow, 2013, items K.6.00-6.02.

Despite the long period of overlap of Borre and Jellinge art styles, there are only few examples of their fusion. The principal and most popular motif of the Borre style displays an animal with gripping paws, usually enmeshed in a circular frame, while a typical Jellinge style beast is more slender with long, S-shaped body and ribbon decoration. The most famous example of a pendant featuring a fusion of these styles was found in a hoard from Vårby (Sweden), formed as a circle with a pair of Jellinge-style beasts with ribbon-shaped bodies in profile and heads with open jaws and extended tongues; however, each is provided with gripping paws and an enmeshed body, which are typical features of the Borre style. A few examples of these pendants were also found near the important trading settlement of Gnezdovo, near Smolensk, Russia.