Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shield Boss and Grip

late 4th century
Gallo-Roman (found in Vermand, France)
Iron, silver, glass
Shield boss: H., 6 1/4 in. (16 cm); Diam., 7 7/8 in. (19.99 cm); shield grip: L., 14 5/16 in. (36.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.192.141, .142a–c
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 370
The boss, or umbo, was originally attached over a hole in the center of a circular or oval wooden shield and protected the hand of the person holding it. The shield was carried by the grip, which was riveted across the hollow center of the shield on the inner side. These objects come from the tomb of a military official in Vermand, France, an area known in the fourth century as Gaul, which was then a province of the Roman Empire. Other finds from the same tomb, including a belt buckle, a decorative plaque, and the fittings from a spear shaft, are displayed in one of the Metropolitan Museum’s galleries of early medieval art.
Ex. coll.: Jumel of Amiens; Boulanger; Jumel of Amiens; Stanislas Baron, Paris; J. Pierpont Morgan, New York Vermand, Aisne, northern France
Pilloy, Jules. "Coup d'oeil general sur les decouvertes d'antiquites prehistoriques, gauloises, romaines, merovingiennes et carlovingiennes faites dans le department de l'Aisne depuis 1858." In Congres archeologique de France. France, 1887. pp. 135-140 (describes findings at Vermand and dates them; pp. 136-138 (describes our pieces).

Boulanger, Claude. Le Mobilier funeraire Gallo-Romain et Franc en Picardie et en Artois. Paris, France, 1902–1905.

Blair, Claude. "The Emperor Maximilian's Gift armour to King Henry VIII and the Silvered and Engraved Armour at the Tower of London." Archaeologia, or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity 99 (1965).

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