Northern Europe, Viking / Norse peoples, ca. 8th to 11th centuries CE. This is a beautiful example of an everyday object from the Viking world, a bronze brooch with a simple pin on a ring and two terminals of deep blue glass embedded in bronze settings. A large faience bead hangs from one side, wrapped there in very thin wire. The beads are probably Norse-made copies of Islamic glass beads. By 800 CE, the Vikings were trading across a huge area, from the islands of the North Atlantic (the first glass beads known from North America appear to have come from the Viking trading post at L'anse aux Meadow, Newfoundland) to northern Russia and the Islamic world; glass beadmaking was a standard in many of the regions they visited, and so they returned home and established beadmaking workshops in Scandinavia and traded them at the great trading emporia, wics like Hedeby or Birka. The faience bead has an equally distant origin: like us, these people were collectors of exotic objects from far away and faience beads traded from the Middle East like this one would have been prized. Size: 3" W (7.6 cm)
Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection formed over the period between 1980 and 2000.
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