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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Strap End with Four Stylized Anglo-Saxon Animals
Work Type
9th century
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Middle Ages, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Mixed copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
3.38 x 1.32 cm (1 5/16 x 1/2 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Mixed Copper Alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead, zinc
Other Elements: iron, silver
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a saturated olive green, probably due to waxing; the white accretions in the recesses are probably wax as well. The metal has corroded to some extent during burial. The fragile, fine edges have broken off in a few places, revealing lighter green mineralized areas. The losses include the top of the bifurcated end, where the two rivet holes have been transformed into semicircular notches. The surface was no doubt also cleaned mechanically after excavation. There are scratches and porosity on the reverse.

The object was cast in one piece. Whether some of the design on the front was created in the model before casting or was entirely carved into the metal is unclear, but certainly, there are traces of faceted chiseling visible in the metal. The slightly notched line along the outer edges of the long sides may have been inlayed with metal wire.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
[Joseph Linzalone, Wolfshead Gallery, Ridgewood, NJ, sold]; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2002.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Mrs. Waltrud Lampé
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This elliptical strap end terminates in a zoomorphic head, with snout, brow, and ears clearly visible. Below the rivet holes, an abstract depiction appears within a pelta-shape. The central portion of the strap end is divided into four sections, each depicting a stylized animal in profile. The edge of the strap end has a raised rope-like pattern. The back is flat and featureless (1).

Strap ends are a relatively common item in medieval northern Europe; they would have adorned the ends of leather or cloth straps on belts and perhaps other types of equipment (2).

1. Compare D. M. Wilson, Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum (London, 1964) 174, no. 82, pl. 30; and D. A. Hinton, A Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the Department of Antiquities Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1974) 60, no. 31; and 65, no. 37.

2. Wilson 1964 (supra 1) 62-63.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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