Anglo-Saxon Bronze Cruciform Long Brooch

£ 1,100.00

An Anglo-Saxon cruciform long brooch cast from bronze, with intricate decoration. It features a flat plate head with a short protruding knob extending from the top of the central square element. The brooch then forms an arch for the bow, under which there are two side lappets, decorated with incised spirals. The brooch then tapers to a fluted finial, also decorated with incised spirals. The bottom half of the brooch’s body is ornamented with horizontal bands and raised dots. The original pin would have sat between the two protrusions on the base of the brooch, but is now missing – only the pin holder and part of the catch plate remain. The brooch is now mounted on a clear perspex stand. The brooch alone measures: L 13.3 x H 4.4 x W 2.9cm.

Date: Circa 6th Century AD
Provenance: Ex Rhenus Auktionen, acquired 2022. Ex Swiss private collection, Basel. Purchased 2019 on the Swiss art market, Basel. Previously German private collection, K.S. Köln.
Condition: Fine condition, pin now missing and green and brown patination on the surface. Side knobs to the head plate now missing. Repair to the base of the plate head, before the bow. Mounted on a custom-made stand.
Product Code: CES-31
Category: Tags: , ,

Anglo-Saxon brooches, known as dalc or spennel, were mainly worn by women to fasten their dresses and cloaks. Cruciform brooches such as this one would have been worn singly. Cruciform brooches come in a range of styles, ranging from more ornate to completely unadorned. This type of brooch was worn between the fifth and seventh centuries, and has mainly been found in Anglian areas, such as East Anglia and the Midlands. Brooches could carry symbolic meanings, as well as being a visual marker of status and wealth.

The decoration at the foot of the fibula was originally meant to depict the head of a horse. This particular example is highly stylised, with the foot lappets constricting the horse’s nose and snout. The large round protrusions offer some resemblance still to eyes. Originally the head plate would have had two additional knobs at each side, however these are now missing. Such brooches were typically made of bronze. Some were gilded with gold and few examples exist of types made in silver.

To discover more on Roman and Celtic brooches, please see our relevant blog post: Roman and Celtic Fibulae

Weight 111.1 g
Dimensions L 16.8 x W 4.4 x H 4.0 cm



Central Europe, North Europe, Western Europe

Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, London, item 1883,0401.478

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