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A croissant shaped piece of greening metal. It has fish tail shape at one terminus and is curled into a loop at hte other terminus.

This is a croissant shaped piece of metal that is mottled dark brown and patina green on the surface. There are decorative bands that extend from the center of the shape out towards the termini. The terminus on the right side has a triangular, fish tail, shaped protrusion. The terminus on the left side curls around on itself to create a loop.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Leech Fibula
Work Type
pin, fibula
late 8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, North Central Italy
Orientalizing period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
4.3 x 9.3 cm (1 11/16 x 3 11/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: zinc, iron, nickel, silver, antimony, arsenic

K. Eremin, January 2014

Chemical Composition: EMP analysis from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 87.15; Sn, 11.25; Pb, 0.45; Zn, 0.10; Fe, 0.02; Ni, 0.05; Ag, 0.09; Sb, 0.23; As, 0.23

J. Wolfe, June 1998

Technical Observations: The patina features variegated greens interspersed with red and black corrosion. The pin is broken off at the spring and lost. The bow was cast and sealed closed. A black patch on the inside surface may be a plug. The core material and core pins seem to be preserved in the interior and are visible in the x-radiographs. The surface decoration appears to have been done on the wax model prior to casting, with some finishing after casting.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum, 1932.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
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 hollow bow of this leech fibula is decorated with alternating bands of herringbone pattern and undecorated bands (1). The plain bands are lower on the surface than the herringbone bands, which are at the same level as the terminals of the bow, indicating that the plain bands were cut down, probably in the wax model. The catchplate is a simple shape that has been hammered and folded. The spring has two coils; the pin is lost.


1. Compare H. Donder, Die Fibeln, Katalog der Sammlung antiker Kleinkunst des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität Heidelberg 3.2 (Mainz, 1994) 43-49, nos. 22-23, pl. 4; A. Naso, I bronzi etruschi e italici del Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Kataloge vor- und frühgeschichtlicher Altertümer 33 (Mainz, 2003) 240-41, nos. 423-24, figs. 135-36; J. M. Turfa, Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Philadelphia, 2005) 94, no. 19; and A. M. Bietti Sestieri and E. Macnamara, Prehistoric Metal Artefacts from Italy (3500-720 BC) in the British Museum (London, 2007) 17 and 188 (fibula type 23), no. 565, pl. 125.

Lisa M. Anderson

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/18/2018 - 11/15/2018

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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