Length: 11.500 cm
Bequeathed by Sir A.W. Franks
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Visigothic, around AD 525–575
Female costume jewellery
This buckle is of gilded copper alloy with punched geometric decoration and is inlaid with blue glass and garnets. It would have been worn on a woman’s belt in traditional Gothic style: her dress would have been fastened at the shoulder by a pair of silver-sheeted bow brooches. The absence of animal decoration, so typical of other Germanic peoples, is noteworthy: it reflects the Visigoths’ closer contacts with the Mediterranean world after their long migration from the lower Danube region to Spain.
This type of buckle, with a large rectangular plate, is ultimately of Roman origin. It was produced in a wide variety of designs under the Visigoths, making much use of brightly coloured glass and garnets. It therefore seems likely that a garnet workshop existed in Visigothic Hispania. As eastern Mediterranean styles became popular at the end of the sixth century, these buckles went out of fashion.
G. Ripoll López, Toréutica de la Bética (Barcelona, Reial Académia de Bones Lletres, 1998)