Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99
Height: 14.000 cm
Width: 13.200 cm
Weight: 353.000 g
ME 1921-6-28, 1
Georgian, 1st-2nd century AD
From western Transcaucasia, modern Republic of Georgia
Brass belt clasps of this distinctive kind have only been found in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. They are made from cast metal. They may imitate plaques of thin gold or silver, decorated with twisted wire and filigree, which would have been nailed at the corners to wood or leather backings.
Analysis has shown that the examples in the British Museum are made of brass, and this indicates a date no earlier than the first century AD. The plaques may represent a very late tradition derived from Koban metalwork of the north-central Caucasus.
This example depicts a stylized stag or horse (note the tail) surrounded by a goat, a dog and a bird.
J.E. Curtis, 'Some Georgian belt-clasps' in The arts of the Eurasian stepp, Colloquium on Art and Archaeology in Asia No. 7 (London, 1978), pp. 88-120
H. Tait, Seven thousand years of jewe-1, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)
H. Tait, Jewellery through 7000 years-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1976)