Gold, garnets with patterned foil backing, cloisonné garnets
Overall: 1 5/16 x 1 1/8 x 1/2 in. (3.4 x 2.9 x 1.2 cm)
Purchase, Rogers Fund, Alastair B. Martin, Norbert Schimmel Foundation Inc., and Levy Hermanos Foundation Inc. Gifts, and funds from various donors, 1986
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
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.
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)]
Recent Acquisitions, 1986-1987 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1987). pp. 12-13.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Seventeenth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1986, through June 30, 1987." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 (1987). p. 35.
Brown, Katharine R. Migration Art, A.D. 300-800. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. pp. 11, 25-26, fig. 4.
Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 37, pp. 31–32.
Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. p. 126, 358, fig. 5e, 11.10.
Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 31.