Belt Clasp

Date: 2nd century B.C.

Geography: Made in the Iberian peninsula (Spain)

Culture: Celtic

Medium: Leaded bronze, inlaid silver, iron rivets

Dimensions: Overall (together): 2 9/16 x 5 1/8 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 13 x 0.6 cm)
Overall (a): 2 9/16 x 2 13/16 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 7.1 x 0.6 cm)
Overall (b): 2 9/16 x 3 3/8 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Bronze

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1990

Accession Number: 1990.62a, b

Description

This bronze and silver buckle is unusual in that both its top and bottom plaque are preserved, along with remains of the iron rivets used to attach it to a leather belt. Small figurines show warriors wearing similar clasps, suggesting this was designed for use by a soldier. It is typical of a type of buckle produced in the central plain region of the Iberian Peninsula, where silver is found in the Sierra Morena mountains. In design it is closely related to engraved examples of artwork in Andalusia in the southwest of Spain, a province that strongly influenced the artistic development of the rest of Iberia. Opposing spirals were a popular motif in Celtic art and were often combined with concentric circles on buckles such as this one. The design was created by carving out a pattern on a bronze panel, and then hammering a thin sheet of silver into the indentations.

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