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Updated: 27 April 2015
The Sutton Hoo Purse-Lid
- The Sutton Hoo Purse-Lid
Gold, garnet and millefiori purse-lid.
a. Gold frame of purse-lid: sub-rectangular in form, with a straight top and curved ends. Along the straight edge there are three hinges on the outside, and four U-shaped lobes on the inside, each lobe inlaid with cloisonné garnet work in a step-cut design. The lower edge is double-curved with a central projecting tongue, filigree edging and an inner border of oblong cloisonné garnets interspersed with panels of blue/white and blue/black chequered millefiori glass.
b. Sub-rectangular gold mount, decorated with two pairs of confronted animals, with elongated jaws and legs which form an interlace pattern between them. The bodies of the two inside animals of each pair, placed in the centre of the mount, are interlocked. The beasts and the interlace are all rendered in cloisonné garnet work with stamped gold foil underlays. The eye cell of one beast and back leg cell of another are empty. There are four gold flat-headed rivets on the back, and ten empty rivet holes.
c & d. Two hexagonal gold mounts with sides of uneven length, longer at the top. The entire surface of both mounts is decorated with a geometric cloisonné garnet pattern including running step-pattern, step-cut, compressed mushroom and irregularly-shaped cells. These are arranged around a central trapezoidal setting with stamped gold foil underlay, but no garnet is present. There are four rivets on back, and one rivet hole in the centre.
e & f. Two gold mounts in form of bird of prey with a large curved beak, attacking a duck. Rendered in cloisonné garnet work with a blue/black millefiori chequer design on the hip of the large bird, and a blue ring around its eye. Millefiori is missing from parts of the duck on both mounts e and f. Very small garnet cells are used in a chevron design to create a feather impression on the wings and tails of both birds. There are four plain rivets in situ and ten empty rivet holes.
g & h. Two gold open-work mounts, depicting a frontally-arranged moustached man between two rampant beasts, perhaps wolves. Both the man and beasts are rendered with cloisonné garnet work, comprising large body cells with stamped gold foil underlays, plus millefiori cells at the man's lower torso and the beasts' foreleg joints. Some garnets are missing from both mounts. Rivets remain in the beasts' eyes and man's feet. In the reconstruction, G is on the left and H on the right.
i & j. Two gold circular studs with cloisonné garnet work, consisting of a pattern of six larger cells alternating with two small cells, repeated five times around the rim. The central cavity contains two plain gold rivet heads. In the reconstruction, I is on the left and J on the right.
k & l. Two circular gold studs, with cloisonné garnet work, consisting of a pattern of four larger cells alternating with two small cells, repeated five times around the rim. The central cavity contains two plain gold rivet heads. In the reconstruction, K is on the left and L on the right.
- early 7thC
- Excavated/Findspot: Sutton Hoo, Ship-burial Mound: 1
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Suffolk,Sutton (parish),Sutton Hoo)
- Length: 19 centimetres (frame)
- Width: 8.3 centimetres (frame, excl hinges)
- Length: 4.3 centimetres (mount b)
- Width: 2.3 centimetres (mount b)
- Weight: 18.45 grammes (mount b)
- Length: 3.3 centimetres (mounts c & d)
- Width: 2.8 centimetres (mounts c & d)
- Weight: 13.53 grammes (mount c)
- Weight: 16.87 grammes (mount d)
- Length: 3.3 centimetres (mounts e & f)
- Width: 2.8 centimetres (mounts e & f)
- Weight: 11.31 grammes (mount e)
- Weight: 12.87 grammes (mount f)
- Length: 3.3 centimetres (mounts g & h)
- Width: 3 centimetres (mounts g & h)
- Weight: 15.56 grammes (mount g)
- Weight: 15.23 grammes (mount h)
- Diameter: 1.2 centimetres (studs i & j)
- Diameter: 0.9 centimetres (max; studs k & l)
- Weight: 2.9 grammes (stud i)
- Weight: 2.7 grammes (stud j)
- Weight: 1.79 grammes (stud k)
- Weight: 1.79 grammes (stud l)
2004 1 Apr-30 Oct, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, Between Myth and Reality
2007 17 Mar-28 Oct, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, Wondrously Wrought
1980 10 Mar-30 Sep, Sweden, Stockholm, Statens Historika Museum, The Vikings are Here
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- 1939,10-10,20 & 21 (former number)
Gold and milliefiori purse lid. a. Gold frame of purse-lid: sub-rectangular with straight top and curved ends; three hinges on straight edge, 4 U-shaped garnet inlaid lobes inside straight edge. Lower edge is double-curved with a central projecting tong
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Object reference number: MCS15210
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