Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Belt Clasp

2nd century B.C.
Made in the Iberian peninsula (Spain)
Leaded bronze, inlaid silver, iron rivets
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)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.62a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
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.
[ Ariadne Galleries, New York (sold 1990)]
Sanders, Horace. "Pre-Roman Bronze Votive Offerings from Despeñaperros in the Sierra Morena, Spain." Archaeologia 60, no. 1 (1906). p. 69-92.

Cabrè, J. "Decoraciones Hispánicas." Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueología 4 (1928). pp. 97-110.

Cabrè, J. "Broches de Cinturón de Bronce Damasquinados con Oro y Plata." Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueología 13 (1937). pp. 93-125.

Alvarez-Ossorio, Francisco. Catálogo de Los Exvotos de Bronce, Ibéricos. Madrid: Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid, 1941. pp. 162-163, fig. CLXVII, CLXVIII.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1989-1990." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 48, no. 2 (Fall 1990). pp. 16-17.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 10, pp. 15–16.

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