Northern Europe, Viking/Norse period, ca. 9th to 11th century CE. A diminutive but gorgeous penannular brooch, cast from bronze, with a pattern of raised circles around the exterior body of the brooch, terminating in two round bosses. The pin is in the form of a stylized wolf head and wraps around the ring. The wolf held a special place in Norse mythology: one of the three Beasts of Battle alongside ravens and eagles, used in artwork to symbolize the impending carnage of war, and called hraegifr, "corpse trolls," ever the winner of a battle because, no matter which humans came out triumphant, the wolf would still have his feast. The wolf was also used to describe a dangerous man, and became associated with outlaws. Indeed, Norse law code called felons "vargar," the word for wolf. Size: 1.15" W (2.9 cm)
Provenance: private New York, USA collection
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