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The bottom half of a person and a multi-headed creature.

There are two carved image panels. A pair of human legs are visible, and a curling thing which may be a serpent are in the top panel. In the lower panel there is a lion walking to the left. Coming up from the lions back is the head of a deer, and where its tail would be there is a serpent. All three heads face to the right. It is unclear if these are additional heads or separate animals standing behind the lion. There is a border of dots and lines along the left side and between the panels. The top, bottom, and right are uneven jagged edges. The surface is brown and beige throughout.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Fragment of Shield Relief
Work Type
late 7th-early 6th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Archaic period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

9.6 x 6 cm (3 3/4 x 2 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1 and Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The surface details are rather worn. There are numerous cracks and creases throughout the piece, and the top and bottom edges of the fragment are jagged. The patina is a light oxidized brown that is visible through a worn, thin greenish-tan layer.

This object is a fragment of a longer strip of metal that was formed from a very thin, hammered sheet of copper alloy. The left edge is folded back and preserves three different types of holes for attachment: a smaller hole at the level of Herakles’ shins; a larger one at the height of the chimera’s heads, and a double hole with the remains of two small rivets or nails near the bottom of the fragment. All of these, as well as another larger hole in the central, horizontal decorative band of the fragment, were punched through from the front.

The clearly defined tool marks on the back, as well as the quality of the abstracted forms of the decorative elements on the front, suggest that the latter were created by repoussé. Punches served to push the metal into a mold in the shape of the pattern that was to be produced on the front.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
[Robert E. Hecht, Jr., New York, (1953-2001)], sold; to The Harvard University Art Museums, 2001.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Ancient Art Acquisition and Marian H. Phinney Funds
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This fragment of bronze shield strap has two panels of relief work separated by a small decorative border consisting of upper and lower pair of raised lines, with swirling lines and pairs of raised points in between the raised border c. 1 cm in length. Damage in this border consists of a medium size hole. The upper panel relief of which the top portion is missing depicts the slender, muscular legs of a god or hero who appears to be attacking a snaky-tailed monster (possibly Herakles and a Hydra). The bottom panel is nearly complete and shows a chimaera. Left side border running the length of the piece appears intact and consists of a decorative raised horizontal line pattern followed by a single row of raised points running vertically. Damage in this border consists of one small hole. The right side border is less intact and shows only a single row of raised points.

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at