Round Box Brooch

Date: 1000–1100

Geography: Made in Gotland, Sweden

Culture: Viking

Medium: Copper alloy, cast, selectively applied silver foil (OA XRD) ...

Dimensions: Overall: 2 3/8 x 1 in. (6 x 2.5 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper

Credit Line: Purchase, Fletcher Fund, and Bequest of Gwynne M. Andrews, by exchange, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.323.2


Women on the Scandinavian island of Gotland wore box brooches to secure their shawls at the collarbone; the brooches doubled as a container to hold small objects. This example is decorated with tiny beasts, which inhabit the interlace patterns on the top and sides. Viking art generally eschews figural decoration in favor of lively patterns based on stylized animals.