Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Belt Buckle

Date:
600–700
Culture:
Frankish
Medium:
Iron overlaid, inlaid with silver, iron rivets
Dimensions:
Overall: 4 3/16 x 8 1/2 x 3/8 in. (10.6 x 21.6 x 1 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Iron
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.191.326
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
Belts were important features of early medieval dress. Not only did they serve the practical function of holding weapons and tools, but their fittings, which could vary in terms of material, decoration, and size, were also highly visible indicators of rank and status. Iron buckles, many imposing in size, were worn by both men and women. Their intricate decoration was achieved by squeezing narrow twisted strips of silver into patterns engraved on the surface of the prefabricated iron pieces. A complete belt would have consisted of a buckle, a counter plate that was placed opposite the buckle, and sometimes a rectangular plate placed in the middle of the belt at the back for decoration.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Brown, Katharine R. Migration Art, A.D. 300-800. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. no. 40, pp. 31-33.



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Back Plate from a Belt Buckle

Date: 7th century Medium: Iron with silver inlay; one rivet a copper alloy (restoration?) … Accession: 17.191.321 On view in:Gallery 301

Counter Plate from a Belt Buckle

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Date: 7th century Medium: Iron, silver, niello, garnet Accession: 17.191.343 On view in:Gallery 301