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Gold Buckle with Garnets

Date:
400–500
Geography:
Made in Constantinople (probably)
Culture:
Germanic
Medium:
Gold, garnets with patterned foil backing, cloisonné garnets
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 5/16 x 1 1/8 x 1/2 in. (3.4 x 2.9 x 1.2 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund, Alastair B. Martin, Norbert Schimmel Foundation Inc., and Levy Hermanos Foundation Inc. Gifts, and funds from various donors, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.341
  • Description

    This buckle, dating from the first half of the fifth century, was discovered in Raab, Hungary. As it was found with silver-gilt and garnet sheath fittings from a battle dagger and sword (now in the British Museum), it may have come from the grave of a prominent leader. The fine workmanship and a rich combination of heavy gold and dark garnets argue that it may have been made in a central jeweler's workshop in Constantinople. Often tribal chieftains from outlying regions of Byzantium were given opulent pieces of jewelry or sword fittings by the emperor, as a sign of friendship and alliance (or as a small bribe). Kings and powerful men would also commission pieces privately from these workshops, as a tangible symbol of their wealth and connections to the powerful civilization in Constantinople, so it is entirely probable that this buckle traveled very far from its maker before being buried with its owner.

  • Provenance

    Found in Komáron, Hungary.; [ David Egger (1881–(?)), Budapest]; [ Samuel Egger, Vienna (until 1891)]; [Egger Collection sale, Sotheby's, London(June 25, 1891, lot 272b)]; Lt. General Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827–1900), Farnham, Dorset, England (1891-?); [ Alistair McAlpine, London (1986)]; [ Ward & Company Works of Art, New York (sold 1986)]

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
466145

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