Brooch in the Form of a Cicada

Date: 350–450

Culture: East Germanic

Medium: Copper alloy, cast; copper alloy pin/spring

Dimensions: Overall: 1/8 x 1 3/16 x 11/16 x 5/8 in. (0.3 x 3 x 1.8 x 1.6 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper

Credit Line: Purchase, William Kelly Simpson Gift, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.263


The winged insect was a popular motif in both Germanic and nomadic metalwork during the late fourth and fifth centuries. Gold bees appeared in the grave of the Frankish king Childeric (d. 482), while other richly appointed graves, such as that at Domagnano (17.190.698), included cicada brooches.