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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Scandinavian Viking Tortoise Brooch and Necklace Set

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LOT 0346

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,500 - 4,660
USD ($) 4,240 - 5,660

Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £2,700

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Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £2,700

Scandinavian Viking Tortoise Brooch and Necklace Set

9th-11th century AD

A brooch and necklace assemblage comprising: a matched pair of bronze tortoise brooches each with a shallow dome bearing low-relief zoomorphic ornament, narrow flange, transverse bar and catch to the reverse; attached double-link chain suspended between two trefoil pendants with attached chains supporting an axehead amulet, an ear-scoop, a pendant with addorsed horse-heads and dangles to the lower edge, an equal-arm brooch, a latch-lifter, a fire steel, a male mask amulet; separate restrung necklace of glass and other spacer beads with rock-crystal cylindrical beads and gold-in-glass drum-shaped beads, three rock crystal cabochons in silver frames. 435 grams total, 8-84.5cm (3 - 33 1/4"). Fine condition. [4]

From the family collection of a UK gentleman, by descent in the early 1970s; previously acquired before 1960; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no. 10712-175093.

Cf. Ewing, T., Viking Clothing, Stroud, 2007, p.25; Arbman, H., Birka I: Die Gräber, Uppsala, 1940, pl.62; MacGregor, A. et al., A Summary Catalogue of the Continental Archaeological Collections, Oxford, 1997, item 4.1.

Female costume in the early middle ages in northern Europe usually included a pair of brooches worn high on the chest with a swag of beads slung between them and attachment chains or cords from which were suspended various tools (needle-case, ear-scoop, nail-cleaner, shears) and amulets. The purpose of the pins was to fasten the shoulder-straps of the hangeroc, a pinafore dress, to the kirtle beneath.