Lot 1061: Viking Twisted and Stamped Bracelet
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 9th-12th century AD. A gold bracelet with twisted shank extending to flat plates with scrolled finials, bands of punched pellets flanking a band of punched triangles with a pellet to each angle. 35 grams, 75mm (3"). Property of a European collector; acquired before 2000. Accompanied by a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate. Within Scandinavia, the two most common shapes for stamps to take were ring-stamps and triangles, often containing one or three pellets. Often, two triangles were placed end-on-end creating an hourglass shape. The stamped triangular decoration is found on a number of objects such as bracelets, rings, and a Thor's Hammer pendant from South Lopham, Norfolk. Such simple shapes were relatively easy to produce. In most cases, a punch was applied to the surface of the object soon after casting. To avoid a double impression, the punch had to be made in a single blow. Actual examples of punches used to create the ornament are rare, but one example comes from a late Viking-Age tool chest found at Mästermyr on Gotland. This is essentially a square iron rod, which originally had an hourglass shape on the striking face. A lead pad from the same tool chest seems to have been a testing piece for this stamp and others: it is covered on both sides with stamped hourglasses and rings. It would seem that it was not necessary to punch the silver or gold after casting. Sometimes, the ornament could be stamped into a beeswax model, and that model used to create a clay mould from which silver or gold objects could be cast. This is clearly demonstrated by a find of a Viking-Age clay mould which preserves stamped hourglass decoration from the harbour site of Fröjel, Gotland; this mould would have been used to cast decorated silver arm-rings.
Condition Report: Very fine condition.