Square-Headed Bow Brooch

Date: 500–600

Culture: Anglo-Saxon

Medium: Gilded copper alloy inlaid with niello

Dimensions: Overall: 5 3/8 x 3 x 15/16 in. (13.6 x 7.6 x 2.4 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Alastair B. Martin, Levy Hermanos Foundation Inc. and J. William Middendorf II Gifts, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.209


This large gilded brooch, which would have been used to secure a cloak, displays the Anglo-Saxon preference for lavish decoration with a particular emphasis on fantastic animal forms. Dark strips of niello inlay frame its richly faceted surface, which is further animated by beast heads, many with bird beaks, projecting from the edges.