Shield Boss (Umbo)
Shield bosses were attached to the center of a circular wooden shield. This example, and another also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 1984.184.2) 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 bird-headed spiral is an older symbol derived from the Langobards' pre-Christian past.
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