Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Disk Brooch

Made in northern France or western Germany
Gold sheet, filigree, garnets with patterned foil backings
Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 15/16 x 1/2 in. (4.9 x 5 x 1.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
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.
Found in Férebrianges or Petit-Troussy, northern France; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
Ricci, Seymour de. Catalogue of a Collection of Gallo-Roman Antiquities Belonging to J. Pierpont Morgan. Paris: C. Berger, 1911. no. 134, p. 23, pl. VIII.

Foltiny, Stephen. "Eine Vierpassfibel mit goldener Smuckplatte aus Niederbreisig und einige verwandte Stücke aus Nordfrankreich im Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York." In Festschrift für Otto Kleemann. Bonner Hefte zur Vorgeschichte, Vol. 3. Bonn: Universität Bonn, 1974. pp. 53–58, pl. 7, no. 4.

Brown, Katharine R. Guide to Provincial Roman and Barbarian Metalwork and Jewelry in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981. p. 18, fig. 26.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 22, pp. 32-33.

Brown, Katharine R. Migration Art, A.D. 300-800. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. pp. 15, 49-51, fig. 11.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. 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. 346-347, fig. 10c.

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