Merovingian, 7th century
From Amiens, Somme, France
This copper-alloy plate, originally tinned to
resemble silver, would have been worn on a
When viewed vertically, the openwork design gives the vague impression of a stick figure between two other figures. The paired figures have birds' heads, and arms at an anatomically impossible angle. It is only when the object is viewed on its side, and the struts supporting the figures are ignored, that the design can be correctly read as a fish between two eagles.
The eagle has an
early, pagan significance: the Romans associated it with
R.A. Smith, A guide to the Anglo-Saxon and (London, British Museum, 1923)