- Museum number
Cast silver disc brooch consisting of a dished plate, covered in Borre-style interlace and with three-dimensional animal and human figures; riveted to the plate is a central openwork boss and four free-standing quadrupeds. The disc has a raised beaded border, within which is a diagonally-hatched band with a beaded inner edge. The Borre-style zoomorphic interlace has four mask-like heads around the base of the central knob, and eight heads in profile touching the border; all the bands are double-contoured with nicked edges to imitate beaded wires. The openwork central knob has eight projecting animal-heads; it is held in place by a pair of rivets, with ring-shaped washers on the reverse of the brooch. The legs of the four free-standing quadrupeds penetrate the disc to secure them in place; they are backward-looking, with tongues extending to touch their backs, and openwork hindquarters. They alternate with four inward-looking figures cast on the border of the brooch. Two of these are squatting humans, with arms passing under their outward-turned knees and hands gripping what may be forked beards that jut out from under the chins of their pear-shaped faces. The other two are animal-heads on forequarters with raised paws gripping a bar held in the mouth; they have projecting ears and a head-lappet. The reverse has a cast textile impression of diamond twill, with a plain border, and a U-shaped pin-attachment with a clasp for the silver pin at the top. At the bottom is a T-shaped attachment-loop. One small casting flaw in the disc has been plugged.
- Production date
Diameter: 7.80 centimetres
Height: 4 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Comment from Kidd, Haith & Ager 'Summary Catalogue' (draft MS)
'probably found in Gotland', Sweden (Register); 'trouvé à Gotland en Suède' (MS letter from vendor, 2.3.1900)
Purchased from Mme Verdier of Copenhagen
PAULSEN P. 1933. Studien zur Wikinger-Kultur, Veröffentlichungen der Schleswig-Holsteinischen Universitäts-Gesellschaft, Series 2, no. 1. Neumünster, pp. 27 note 59, 42 3
STENBERGER M. 1947. Die Schatzfunde Gotlands der Wikingerzeit I Text. Stockholm, pp. 49 50 note 4, pl. 4
CAPELLE T. 1962. Eine barocke Silberspange aus Birka, Acta Arch 33, Copenhagen, pp. 102 3 no. 4
WILSON D.M. and KLINDT-JENSEN O. 1966. Viking Art. London, p. 91, pl. XXXIa
M. Neiss has remarked a stamp 'ET' on the pin, which was the goldsmith's mark used by E. Terkelsen in Copenhagen from 1893-1937, according to Dr M. Axboe (there was a similar French import mark for silver and gold from 1864-1893, but it seems most unlikely that the brooch was ever in France).
Probably found on Gotland. The excellent quality of the design and workmanship, makes this brooch the finest example of a group of such Borre-style disc brooches, with three-dimensional figures, found chiefly in central Sweden (listed in Stenberger 1958, 49, note).
Date: Middle Viking Period.
- On display (G41/dc25/sA)
- Exhibition history
2009 11 Dec-2010 10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2009 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
1981 USA, Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Vikings
1980 4 Oct-1981 4 Jan, USA, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Vikings
1980 19 Feb-20 July, London, BM, The Vikings
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number