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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Arched Fibula
Other Titles
Former Title: Bow Fibula
Work Type
pin, fibula
8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Crete
Geometric period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
12.9 x 16.8 x 2.3 cm (5 1/16 x 6 5/8 x 7/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 95.72; Sn, 3.59; Pb, 0.49; Zn, 0.006; Fe, 0.02; Ni, 0.05; Ag, 0.02; Sb, less than 0.05; As, 0.1; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, less than 0.01; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is green with light green spots and brown burial accretions. The surface is well preserved. Chip losses show that the corrosion layer is at least 1 mm deep in some areas. A 1-cm corner of the catchplate is broken off and lost.

The bow section of the fibula was cast, probably from a model made directly in wax. The pin, coil spring, and catchplate were part of this casting but were cold worked into their shapes. An elongated chisel point and hammer were used to create the small facets around the incised lobes. The flat sections between the lobes and the pin section are decorated with tremolo, a fine zigzag pattern made by rocking a curved chisel point back and forth over the surface.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

David M. Robinson, Baltimore, MD, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
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 large fibula has a swelling bulge in the center, at the topmost part of the arched body. Two beaded elements between three raised rings flank this swollen section at each end. After these beaded elements, the body flattens on one side and runs down, forming a pin, round in section, which loops twice before running straight to the narrow catchplate at the opposite end of the fibula. The profile of the catchplate tapers upwards before curving toward the central bulge of the body. Incised hatch marks appear on the beaded elements. Tremolo lines are also present on the flattened sections, ending on one side before the double loop and on the other before the catchplate.

Fibulae found on Crete are closest to this one in general shape (1). It seems likely that the fibula was made on the island in the eighth century BCE.


1. See Chr. Blinkenberg, Lindiaka 5: Fibules grecques et orientales, Historisk-filologiske meddelelser 13.1 (Copenhagen, 1926) 75, type II 19b (from Vrokastro); and E. Sapouna-Sakellarakis, Die Fibeln der griechischen Inseln, Prähistorische Bronzefunde 14.4 (Munich, 1978) 52, no. 220, pl. 7 (from Tylissos).

Michael Bennett

Publication History

Fogg Art Museum, The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities, A Special Exhibition, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1961), p. 30, no. 236.

Exhibition History

The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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