This brooch is exceptional in its naturalistic rendering of a panther. The spots were created not with enamels but by the niello process, in which incisions in the silver were filled with an alloy of black sulphur that was then heated.
Small brooches, often in whimsical animal forms, were worn both by Roman soldiers stationed in the provinces and by the native population. Though brooches in these forms appear throughout the Roman world, the distribution of finds and the archaeological remains of workshops suggest that the major centers of production were Britain and Gaul.
[ Julius Carlebach Gallery, New York (sold 1946)]; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1946–1947)]
Brown, Katharine R. Migration Art, A.D. 300-800. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. pp. 10, 18-19, fig. 2.
Caillet, Jean-Pierre. "Provincial Roman Objects in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal 32 (1997). p. 54, fig. 9.