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The Crundale buckle

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Crundale buckle
  • Description

    Silver buckle with a cast oval loop and shield-on-tongue covered by a sheet gold plate, edged with beaded wire, and divided into two crescentic panels flanking a central rectangle, all filled with collared granules. Above them is a band of interlaced beaded wires, and a smaller shield in relief inlaid with cloisonné garnet scales. The loop and cast triangular plate are attached by four interlocking hinge-plates, secured by a transverse pin with one collared boss surviving. The plate originally had three similar gilt bossed rivets, one now missing, linked by an applied gold strip edged with beaded wire. Above the rivets nearest the loop it is divided into two square panels, both containing a collared cabochon garnet, flanking a central rectangle with four granules. Below them is a Style II snake seen from above, its filigree wire body composed of interlaced knots. In the centre, its head below the shield, is a gold fish in high relief, its features outlined in beaded wire. The eyes are small cabochon settings, now empty. The plate is hollow underneath, the sheet silver back-plate is now separate. It has a border of stamped triangles, and a lightly incised backward-gazing animal biting its own body in a rectangular panel below the loop.


  • School/style

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 7thC(mid)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 150 millimetres
    • Width: 64 millimetres
    • Thickness: 20 millimetres
    • Weight: 207.8 grains
  • Curator's comments

    Webster & Backhouse 1991
    The Crundale buckle was found in 1861 with a gilt copper-alloy buckle inlaid with garnets, and an iron sword, its pommel decorated with Style II animal ornament comparable to that in the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity College, MS A.4.5. (57)). It is probably the latest of a group of gilt-silver triangular buckles from rich male graves in Kent, decorated with zoomorphic filigree (cf. Speake 1980, pls 6, 7). In its hollow construction it is similar to the gold buckle from Sutton Hoo, and like that, may also have been a reliquary. The fish is an early Christian symbol denoting Christ: its prominent use here and on the Eccles buckle (Cat. No. 7) illustrates the replacement of pagan images (as for instance on the Finglesham buckle) by the new Christian iconography.

    Select bibliography: Baldwin Brown, G. 1915, ‘The Arts in Early England’, vol. 4, ‘Saxon Art and Industry in the Pagan Period’, London, 355, pl. LXXIII: i; Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S. 1978, ‘The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial’, vol. II, ‘Arms, Armour and Regalia’, London, 620, 625, fig. 441 c; Speake, G. 1980, ‘Anglo-Saxon Animal Art and its Germanic Background’, Oxford, 47, 56, 60, 62, pl. 7d.


  • Bibliography

    • Marzinzik 2013 54 bibliographic details
    • Webster & Backhouse 1991 6 bibliographic details
    • Speake 1980 pl 7d-e bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G41/dc6/sB

  • Exhibition history

    2007 14 Sep-2 Dec, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2007 3 Feb-27 May, Taipei, National Palace Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2006 18 Mar-4 Jun, Beijing, Capital Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 27 Oct-2006 31 Jan, Haengso Museum, Keimyung University, Daegu, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 25 Jul-8 Oct, Busan Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2005 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    1996 1 Jun-26 Aug, Newcastle upon Tyne, The Laing Art Gallery, Treasures from the Lost Kingdom of Northumbria

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1861 John Durden was son of Henry Durden

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: MCS3909

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