Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Horse-Shaped Brooch

Date:
6th century
Geography:
Made in Northern France
Culture:
Frankish
Medium:
Silver-gilt, garnet with foil backing(?); iron spring
Dimensions:
Overall: 11/16 x 1 1/4 x 5/16 in. (1.8 x 3.1 x 0.8 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.192.186
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
The dress of Frankish women generally consisted of a tunic, cinched by a belt from which hung an array of pendants. A wrap or cloak went over the tunic. Shoes and hosiery, fastened with buckles, covered the legs. Earrings, necklaces, and hairpins completed the ensemble.

Aspects of this dress changed from the 300s to the 600s, and brooches in particular convey changes in taste. From the 300s to the 500s, pairs of small brooches, in an array of inventive shapes, held the wrap in place. By the 600s, a single large disc brooch, usually elaborately decorated, served the same function. No other piece of jewelry is more characteristic of Frankish dress than the brooch, and no other better demonstrates the virtuosity of Frankish metalworkers.
Stanislas Baron, Paris; 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. 26, pp. 28-29.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. p. 238, 352, fig. 20.18.



Related Objects

Bird-Shaped Brooch

Date: 500–600 Medium: Silver-gilt, garnets, foil backings for garnets; iron spring Accession: 17.191.167 On view in:Gallery 301

Bird-Shaped Brooch

Date: late 6th century Medium: Silver-gilt, garnets with patterned foil backings; iron spring/pin Accession: 17.192.181 On view in:Gallery 301

Square-Headed Bow Brooch

Date: 500–600 Medium: Gilded copper alloy inlaid with niello Accession: 1985.209 On view in:Gallery 301

Disk Brooch

Date: 6th century Medium: Silver-gilt on iron core, metal foil, inlaid garnet or paste Accession: 17.191.12 On view in:Gallery 301

Bow Brooch

Date: 500–550 Medium: Silver, gilt and cast; garnet with unpatterned foil backing; bone; iron spring/pin Accession: 17.191.174 On view in:Gallery 301