Northern Europe, Viking / Norse, Anglo-Saxon, or Frankish, ca. 6th to 11th century CE. A fascinating object, a miniature 18K gold basket (also bucket or situla) with a granulated strap handle. There are bands of filigree ropework on the top and bottom of the body, forming a border with granules in repeated triangular shapes within it around the body. Granulated gold items were the ultimate symbol of wealth and status in northern and western Europe at this time. Size: .5" W x .625" H (1.3 cm x 1.6 cm), 2.6 grams
Like many objects from this time period, it is difficult to place this into a specific culture because there was so much movement of goods between different groups. For example, almost identical gold items have been found in the Hoen hoard, Norway's largest find of Viking gold, but the hoard contained items from the Franks, Romans, Byzantines, Anglo-Saxons, and the Arabic world, presumably taken by Vikings during raids. Bronze examples of these miniature situlae also have been found in hoards in Vimose bog, Denmark, and Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Researchers have theorized that they represent large wooden buckets used in the world of the Franks, Anglo-Saxons, and Vikings to hold mead or ale and replenish individual drinks during feasts. These small pendants were probably symbolic of that activity, representing endless abundance.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection
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