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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

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
4.07 x 1.45 cm (1 5/8 x 9/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a uniform light olive green that is coated with a plastic-like transparent material, which seals in some powdery brownish material, perhaps soil. Deep corrosion or cuprite is apparent. The form is worn overall, and the terminal has little definition of the detail around the edges. The back part of the bifurcated end is missing. It broke laterally across the width of the piece; the underside of the extant portion is very porous in appearance.

This strap end was cast in one piece. The decorative patterns on the front were formed with punches and chisels. Whether the fine whitish remains trapped in the recesses of the design are original inlay material or later accretions is not clear. The two rivet holes (c. 2.5 mm in diameter) seem to have been punched with pressure from the front to the back, as is indicated by the slight lip of excess metal that protrudes on the underside of the holes. Several of the pores around the back of the proper left rivet hole seem to be rounded rectangles and could have been created with a punch.

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
This elliptical strap end tapers toward a zoomorphic head terminal, which is very worn. The ears and brow are clear, but the eyes and nose are difficult to distinguish. The pelta shaped impression below the rivet holes contains a stylized bird. The central design of the strap end may depict a highly stylized animal—head toward the top, tail toward the terminal, standing, with a large eye and open mouth shown in profile—all within an irregular border of squares with central dots (1). The back is featureless and flat.

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. Compare D. M. Wilson, Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum (London, 1964) 169, no. 71, pl. 30; no. 116, pl. 40; 202-203, nos. 137-38, pl. 42; and D. A. Hinton, A Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the Department of Antiquities Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1974) 12, no. 5 (1940.11); 60, no. 31; and 65, no. 37 (1896-1908, Pr. 478).

2. Wilson 1964 (supra 1) 62-63.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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