Lot 950: Ostrogothic Gilt Radiate-Headed Brooch Pair
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Late 5th century AD. A large matched pair of gilt-bronze radiate-headed bow brooches, each with D-shaped headplate, running scrolls and five radiating knops to the outer edge, three with inset garnet cabochons; a C-section narrow bow with running scroll ornament; a tongue-shaped footplate with scrolled tendril ornament, six lateral cells with cabochon garnets and two pierced lappets; beast-head finial; catchplate and ferrous remains of the pin to the reverse. 170 grams total, 15.5-16mm (6 - 6 1/4"). Property of a German collector; acquired in the 1980s and 1990s. Principally worn by women, as evidenced by finds from graves, these brooches were worn in pairs to hold the dress and cloaks together and formed part of the assemblage of a woman's accoutrements for the display of her social standing within the community and the household. The brooches are believed to be derived from earlier Roman styles that were traded with the Germanic tribes beyond the Rhine. These were adapted to local tastes with chip-carved decoration exhibiting scrolls and animal patterns, as well as animal head terminals and knobs in the form of birds and fierce beasts. A notable inclusion in the decoration are the garnets which are a distinguishing feature of Migration period jewellery at this time. 
Condition Report: Fine condition, two garnets absent.