Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2003.19
Title
S-Shaped Fibula
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Double Bird Brooch
Classification
Jewelry
Work Type
pin, fibula
Date
late 5th-early 6th century
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Britain (Britannia)
Period
Late Antique period
Culture
Anglo-Saxon
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/93477
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Mixed copper alloy
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
1.7 x 2.7 x 0.2 cm (11/16 x 1 1/16 x 1/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Mixed Copper Alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead, zinc
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a patchwork of green, cupritic red, and black. The body of the brooch appears to have been cast in one piece with the catchplate and the hinge loop on the reverse. The pin is now missing, but the rusty remains that have built up around the hinge loop indicate that it was iron. The surface of the brooch has been extensively mechanically cleaned, carving through the green and cupritic corrosion accretions and making it difficult to determine the exact nature of the original modeling and cold working. The two openings below the beaks of the stylized bird heads were created in the wax model rather than in the metal.


Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)

Provenance
[Joseph Linzalone, Wolfshead Gallery, Ridgewood, NJ, sold]; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2003.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Mrs. Waltrud Lampé
Accession Year
2003
Object Number
2003.19
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This S-shaped brooch terminates at each end in a stylized bird head curving back toward its body (1). Each head is shown in profile, consisting of a circular profile eye, with iris and pupil indicated, and a curved beak with a deep central depression. The curving body of the brooch is filled with short horizontal lines surrounded by double raised lines. A loop and hinge are present on the back, although the pin is lost.

NOTES:

1. Compare T. Brisco, “The Anglo-Saxon S-Shaped Brooch in England with Special Reference to One from Lakenheath, Suffolk,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 61 (1968): 45-53, esp. 46 and 51, fig. 1.f; and R. Hattatt, Brooches of Antiquity: A Third Selection of Brooches from the Author’s Collection (Oxford, 1987) 323-24, no. 1318, fig. 105.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu