Body-chain with coin-set clasp and jewelled mount. Four chains are joined so as to form an upper-body decoration passing over the shoulders and under the arms of the wearer, and crossing at the front and back. The chains are of complex loop-in-loop construction connected laterally to form a thick flat strap, rather than a round-sectioned chain. They terminate in three-dimensional lions' heads. The lions have large eyes, rounded ears and flat muzzles. A plain tubular collar behind each head contains the end of the chain, fixed in place by a rivet, and each lion has a small ring in its mouth that connects with further rings to link with the frontal plaque, and to gold hooks at the other end, which connect with the back plaque to form a clasp. The collars that enclose the ends of the chains are encircled at each end by a band of twisted, square-sectioned wire. The clasp at the back of the body chain takes the form of an octagonal open-backed mount set with a gold coin. A border in pierced gold features a foliate design of leafy spirals at the corners, meeting in the centre of each side over a heart-shaped leaf. This openwork border has been backed with sheet gold, so that it now appears simply as a design in relief on a solid background, and four ribbed rings are soldered to the backing in diagonal positions. The coin is a solidus of Gratian (AD 367-83). At the front of the body chain is a roughly oval gold setting for nine gems. It has a slightly concave solid back. The centre oval cell contains a cabochon amethyst, and surrounding it four almond-shaped garnets (one damaged) alternate with four empty circular cells still containing some sulphur. These may have contained pearls.
© The Trustees of the British Museum
Using this image
To license images for charged-for journals and publications, and other commercial uses, please contact British Museum Images.
Contact BM images
The image will be released to you under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. You can read more about the British Museum and Creative Commons here.
Download this image
If you cannot see an image that you want on the British Museum website, you can order new photography from us.
Order new image