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Bird-Shaped Brooch

Date:
second half 6th century
Culture:
Frankish
Medium:
Gold sheet with filigree and granulation and inlays of garnet and glass
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 9/16 x 13/16 x 3/16 in. (4 x 2 x 0.5 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.192.175
  • Description

    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.

  • Provenance

    From Marchélepot, northern France; Albert Jumel ; Stanislas Baron, Paris; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)

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