Diameter: 6.900 cm
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan
Room 40: Medieval Europe
Slav (Kiev type), late 11th or 12th century
From a hoard found in Trekhsvyatytelska Street, Kiev, Ukraine
Female personal jewellery
This silver bracelet of hammered sheet is hinged on one side and secured by a removable pin on the other. It is decorated with the heraldic figures of birds and tree-like flowers in arcades of beaded wire and is inlaid with black niello. The flowers are thought to represent the eternal cycle of nature. The birds, a popular motif in early Slav art, are thought to be symbols of the ruling dynasty in Kiev. The bracelet was probably made in a workshop attached to the court and associated with celebrations of the princely family. The manufacture of such objects later spread to other cities in the state of Rus'.
The bracelet was found in 1906, as part of a hoard that contained other fine jewellery and two silver ingots. It was buried in a metal casket in Trekhsvyatytelska Street (Street of the Three Saints), opposite the gates of the Mikhailovsky Golden Dome Monastery in Kiev. Gold jewellery from the same hoard is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The hoard was probably buried at the time of the Tartar invasions and sack of Kiev around 1240.
H. Tait (ed.), Seven thousand years of jewell (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)