Gilt bronze strap-end

Anglo-Saxon, late 5th - early 6th century AD
From Sarre, Kent, England

With Style I animal ornament

This unique strap-end is decorated with two animals in profile within plain and beaded borders. It was secured at the end of a leather tab or belt by means of two rivets in the square end. Straps with metal mounts at the end may have been fed through a buckle loop, as on a modern belt, or simply suspended from a belt or girdle in a decorative fashion.

The two animals are good examples of Style I decoration showing quadrupeds. They each have a bossed eye emphasized by an angular band and a foreleg extended to the front. The rear hip joints are also easily spotted, as are the frond-like feet. The crisp casting and clear realization of the animal ornament are characteristic of the highest quality workmanship found in Kent around AD 500.

Flat, narrow strap-ends are a Late Antique form that developed in the late fourth and fifth century in the Eastern Roman Empire. In continental Europe, strap-ends were generally made in silver or gold with garnet cloisonné, and plain silver examples are found in Kent. The application of Style I animals to this strap end may have been done by an artist familiar with quoit brooch style ornament.

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More information

Bibliography

R.A. Smith, A guide to the Anglo-Saxon and (London, British Museum, 1923)

Dimensions

Length: 5.500 cm
Width: 1.500 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1893,6-1,237

MCS4805

Durden Collection

Location

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