Collection online

vessel / handle

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Silver zoomorphic handle from large vase or amphora. It is solid-cast in the form of a rearing tigress. Her short stripes each consist of two engraved lines with a narrower inlaid strip of niello between them. The animal’s mouth is open, with the teeth locked to form a channel, perhaps for the attachment of a ring. The front paws are shaped to fit over a rim or collar, while the undersides of the hind paws are shaped to fit a curved surface. The hind feet bear traces of solder. The tigress has six large dugs and a very long, slender, curved tail.


  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 159 millimetres
    • Weight: 480.3 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    Silver tigress from the Hoxne hoard

    Roman Britain, buried in the 5th century AD
    Found at Hoxne, Suffolk (1992)

    An animal handle

    The Hoxne (pronounced 'Hoxon') hoard is the richest find of treasure from Roman Britain. Alongside the approximately 15,000 coins were many other precious objects, buried for safety at a time when Britain was passing out of Roman control.

    This statuette of a prancing tigress was intended as one of a pair of handles for a large silver amphora or vase, though no other part of such an object was found in the hoard. Tigers and other large feline species were associated with Bacchus, and the amphora to which this tigress belonged would no doubt have had Bacchic decoration. The figure is a solid casting with stripes inlaid in niello to create a black contrast with the silver background.


  • Bibliography

    • Bland & Johns 1993 bibliographic details
    • Johns 2010 30 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/dc23

  • Exhibition history

    1994-1995 Oct-Jan, Ipswich Museum, The Hoxne Treasure

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • T304 (Treasure number)
Silver handle from large vase or amphora, originally one of a pair. In form of prancing tigress. Solid casting, with stripes inlaid with niello.

Side : left

Silver handle from large vase or amphora, originally one of a pair. In form of prancing tigress. Solid casting, with stripes inlaid with niello.

Image description



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Object reference number: BCB90829

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