Cruciform brooch with animal foot
Anglo-Saxon, 6th century AD
From Lakenheath, Suffolk, England
This is a finely patinated example of a typical brooch worn by a woman from the Anglian area of Anglo-Saxon England. Cruciform brooches (that is, in the shape of a cross) evolved in northern Germany and Scandinavia in the course of the fifth century. The first cruciform brooches, brought to and made in England by Anglian and Jutish settlers, were closely similar to their continental counterparts. In England they are found predominantly in East Anglia, but also in Kent, the east Midlands and as far north as the Humber. Some time after the first quarter of the sixth century, when this brooch was made, the style and forms of the brooches become characteristically English.
Unlike many other Anglo-Saxon brooch types, cruciform brooches were worn singly, generally on the breast, perhaps to fasten an outer cloak. They all have a square or rectangular headplate, sometimes with extensions and either one or three knobs. The feet are always in the shape of an animal head with prominent eyes. Here the headplate is rectilinear and finely stamped around the edges. The bow is plain, but at its junction with the footplate two hooded Style II bird heads project to either side. The footplate is beautifully modeled with an animal head with a blunt nose and stalked eyes.