Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Two Shield Bosses

Date:
7th century
Culture:
Langobardic
Medium:
Iron, copper alloy, gold
Dimensions:
1984.184.1: Diam. 7 1/2 in. (19.05 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.89 cm); 1984.184.2: Diam. 7 in. (17.78 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.89 cm)
Classification:
Shields
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Bequest of Stephen V. Grancsay, by exchange, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.184.1, .2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 370
Shield bosses were attached to the center of a circular wooden shield. These two are thought to have been made in northern Italy, the heart of the Langobardic Kingdom from the late sixth to the mid-eighth century. The majority of surviving Langobardic shield bosses are made of plain iron. Some, like these examples, are more richly decorated with engraved appliqués of gilt bronze.

The crosses and fish that decorate one of the bosses suggest that its owner was a Christian. The bird-headed spiral on the other boss is an older symbol derived from the Langobards' pre-Christian past.
Ex. coll.: Count Wilczek (Castle Kreuzenstein, Austria); Ruth and Leopold Blumka; Eric Vaule.
Werner, J. "Ein Langobardischen Schild von Ischl a d. Alz." Bayerische Vorgeschichtsblätter (1951–52), p. 45.

Koch, R. "Bodenfunde der Volkerwanderungszeit aus dem Main-Tauber Bebiet." Germanische Denkmäler Der Völkerwanderungszeit (1967).

Hessen, Otto von. Il Materiale Altomedievale nelle Collezioni Stibbert di Firenze. Ricerche di Archeologia Altomedievale e Medievale, Vol. 7. Florence: All'insegna del Giglio, 1983. pp. 34–35, nos. 155, 156 (similar shield bosses).

Menis, Gian Carlo, and Ermanno Arslan. I Longobardi. Milan: Electa, 1990. nos. IV.62, IV.63, II.206 (similar shield bosses).

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer, 1991), pp. 10–11, 64, ill.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, eds. 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. pp. 126, 209, 358, figs. 11.9, 18.12.

Related Objects

Shield Boss

Artist: Date: 7th century
Accession Number: 1984.184.1
Date: 7th century Medium: Iron, copper alloy, gold Accession: 1984.184.1 On view in:Gallery 370

Shield Boss (Umbo)

Artist: Date: 7th century
Accession Number: 1984.184.2
Date: 7th century Medium: Iron, copper alloy, gold Accession: 1984.184.2 On view in:Gallery 370

Helmet (Spangenhelm)

Artist: Date: 6th–7th century
Accession Number: 42.50.1
Date: 6th–7th century Medium: Iron, copper alloy, gold Accession: 42.50.1 On view in:Gallery 370

Shirt of Mail and Plate

Artist: Date: 15th–16th century
Accession Number: 04.3.456b
Date: 15th–16th century Medium: Steel, iron, copper alloy, gold, silver, leather Accession: 04.3.456b On view in:Gallery 379

Horse Bit

Artist: Date: 7th–9th century
Accession Number: 47.100.24
Date: 7th–9th century Medium: Iron inlaid with copper alloy, gold, and silver Accession: 47.100.24 On view in:Gallery 301