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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Disk Brooch

7th century
Gold, copper alloy, garnet and glass
Overall: Diam. 1 15/16 x 3/8 in. (5 x 1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Ruth C. Bermant, 2001
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.
[ Ward & Company Works of Art(until 1985)]; Mrs. Ruth C. Bermant(1985 - 2001)
Ward, Michael. Jewels of the Barbarians. New York: Michael Ward, 1985. no. 19, ill.

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