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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
2.91 x 1.04 cm (1 1/8 x 7/16 in.)
Technical Details

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

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The object has a green patina on the front that is somewhat more mottled with brown on the back. One rivet is intact, the other has rusted away, and the top left corner, including most of one rivet hole, is missing. The surface seems to be well preserved otherwise, although it is somewhat worn on the edges, and it is coated with a transparent material that is somewhat brown in the areas of greater thickness. The undecorated side of the piece is slightly pitted, perhaps from corrosion and cleaning.

The strap end was cast in one piece. The decorative features on the upper side of the strap end seem to have been carved. Whether they were originally carved in the wax is unclear, but the rope-like borders and texture around the pelta shape seem to preserved punch marks from working in the metal.

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 has a small zoomorphic terminal, depicting a stylized head, ears, brow, eyes, and nose in relief. The edges of the piece have a rope-like border. Below the rivets is a pelta shape, within which is a shape that resembles either a crown or a curved comb with five teeth. The central portion of the strap end, taking up most of the front, bears a crouched animal, perhaps a deer or a hare; the spirals on the long horns or ears seem to indicate a deer, but the very large hind limbs, small forelimbs and general body shape are more like a hare (1). The back is flat and featureless.

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; 189-90, nos. 97-98, pl. 37 (silver but with similar stylized central animal); 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, although somewhat larger still the same general shape); 60, no. 31; and 65, no. 37 (1896-1908, Pr. 478); a strap end in the National Museums Scotland from Stevenson Sands, Ayrshire, inv. no. X.BMC 292; and a strap end recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme from Eden, Cumbria, inv. no. LANCUM-5F92B7.

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

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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