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Lot 0494


Late 7th-early 9th century AD. A gilt-bronze openwork bracket or fitting comprising: a D-shaped plaque with incised running zigzag to the upper face, waisted openwork plate formed as three cells flanked by S-coiled beasts; the upper beasts with one raised three-toed forelimb, D-shaped facing mask with pellet eyes, hatched detailing to the body, tribract to the shoulder, clubbed tail; the lower beasts similar with piscine details; the upper and lower cells D-shaped, the central one a lozenge, with a column of a hatched fish between; pierced at the upper corners and lower cell, two lateral pierced attachment lugs; ferrous remains, lug and part of a separate riveted bronze plate to the reverse. See Webster, L. & Backhouse, J. The Making of England. Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 London, 1991; Wilson, D.M. Catalogue of Antiquities of the Later Saxon Period, Volume I: Anglo-Saxon Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum, London, 1964. Recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme with reference number DENO-4207C5; accompanied by a print out of the PAS report. 84 grams, 87mm (3 1/2"). Found Nottinghamshire, UK; 2013. The mount is unusual although its decoration and manufacturing technique point to an origin in Britain in the 7th-9th centuries. Its D-shaped upper face or ledge indicates that it is not the standard flat form of scabbard or harp fitting. The cells were probably intended to accept a glass inset gem or millefiori panel, although the inner panel of the central cell shows signs of having been gilded. The upper beasts show strong Irish influence in their design, which is found elsewhere in Northumbrian art in the 8th-9th century as for example on the brow fittings of the Coppergate helmet (Webster & Backhouse, item 47"). Similar heads in profile appear on the scabbard chapes from the St. Ninian's Isle Treasure (Wilson, plate IV"). The overall design of the piece is tentatively identified with the 'fish flanked by birds' motif seen for example in the Staffordshire Hoard, probably of later 7th century date.


Fine condition.

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Anglo-Saxon Gilt Mount with Dragons

Estimate £2,000 - £3,000May 23, 2017
Starting Price £1,200
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