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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Strap End
Work Type
9th century
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Middle Ages, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Mixed copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
4.57 x 1.85 cm (1 13/16 x 3/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Mixed Copper Alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, zinc
Other Elements: lead, iron

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The dark brown surface of the strap end is pitted by corrosion and was cleaned after excavation. Some lumps of green corrosion product remain. The end that would have attached to the strap is missing, and a friable reddish-brown material—which might be burial accretions, colored wax, or corrosion—is trapped in the recesses.

The object was probably cast. The metal surface on the front of the strap end preserves many crisp details of the original decoration, formed by pointed round, circular, and crescent-shaped punches in the metal. It is not clear whether the parallel diagonal marks on the beveled edge near the arrow-shaped tip are file marks from cleaning or the remains of decorative markings. The back has a much rougher surface, perhaps more representative of what the front looked like when it was excavated.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
[Joseph Linzalone, Wolfshead Gallery, Ridgewood, NY, sold]; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2004.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Mrs. Waltrud Lampé and the Marian H. Phinney Fund
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 fragment is in the shape of an elongated diamond ending in a heart-shaped finial; the other edge is broken. The front surface is decorated with four circles, each with a center dot, in a diamond pattern. The piece is bordered by a line of semicircles. The back is flat and featureless. This piece does not have a bifurcated top portion, as the other strap ends in this group do, and the decoration is unusual (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. The closest comparisons may be D. M. Wilson, Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum (London, 1964) 198-99, nos. 124-25, pl. 40.

2. Ibid. 62-63.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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