Bird-Shaped Brooch

Date: 500–600

Geography: Made in northern France or western Germany

Culture: Frankish

Medium: Gold, garnet, glass, pearl

Dimensions: Overall: 13/16 x 1 1/4 x 1/4 in. (2 x 3.2 x 0.7 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.191.164


From the mid-fourth to the mid-sixth century, Frankish women generally wore pairs of small brooches, in an array of inventive shapes, to hold in place a light wrap that covered the upper part of the chest. Birds were a favorite form, though this brooch along with its pair (acc. no. 17.191.165) stands out for the copious use of garnet and the refined shape.