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Home > Auctions > 24th November 2020 > Viking Trefoil Brooch with Odin Masks

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LOT 0493

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 6,610 - 8,810
USD ($) 7,780 - 10,380

Opening Bid
£5,400 (EUR 5,947; USD 7,005) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Viking Trefoil Brooch with Odin Masks

9th century AD

A bronze trefoil brooch comprising: three radiating flat lobes each with a facing mask of annular eyes, D-shaped headdress and a lentoid mouth with beard, all within a beaded frame; three interstitial radiating raised D-shaped lobes each with a smaller similar face; central disc with segmented rim, three kidney-shaped motifs surrounding a triangle with spiral decoration; pin lugs to the reverse and two pierced lugs for attachment of necklace swags. 40 grams, 65mm (2 1/2"). Extremely fine condition.

Property of a professional collector; acquired before 1990; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10217-166951.
Cf. Arbman, H., Birka I: Die Gräber, Uppsala, 1940, pl.75, items 1-6.
The brooch is an unusually fine example of the type with intriguing masks executed in a very flat style, unlike most examples from e.g. Birka where the ornament is in high-relief and somewhat coarser in execution. The meaning of the masks is at present unknown, but suggestions include figures from mythology (e.g. the god Óðinn) or legend (e.g. Bödvar Bjarki the bear-warrior).