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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Bow Fibula Fragment
Work Type
pin, fibula
8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Thessaly
Geometric period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
4.5 x 6.5 cm (1 3/4 x 2 9/16 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is a pale bluish green with some brown encrustations from burial. The bow is broken at the ends, with the catchplate showing deformation, stress cracks, and losses. Two pins protrude from the sides of the bow where knobs may have been located.

The fibula was cast and sealed closed. Long, rectangular patches and core pins can be seen in the x-radiographs. Small, rectangular holes at the outer ends of these patches, or plugs, are visible on the outer surface when the fibula is viewed under the microscope. There may also be a square-shaped plug on the inside surface, but it is very difficult to discern. Tool marks from finishing after casting are evident. The surface design appears to have been incised in the metal, although it may have been cast and then enhanced after casting.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Nagler
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
The web of abstract, linear decoration on the top of the fibula’s distinctive, bow-shaped body bears a strong resemblance to fibulae from Pherai, Thessaly (1). Seen from the top, the ornamentation divides the bow into three main sections, each of which is filled with a linear pattern. Two longitudinal borders delimit the sections. In the central section, hatched lines surround a rectangular frame enclosing a zigzag. The two flanking sections have more casually executed zigzags. Corrosion has deteriorated nearly all of the pin and much of the catchplate, leaving a boot-shaped form.


1. Compare K. Kilian, Fibeln in Thessalien von der mykenischen bis zur archaischen Zeit, Prähistorische Bronzefunde 14.2 (Munich, 1975) 93, no. 1112, pl. 40.

Michael Bennett

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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