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Silver Circular Brooch

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Version 2 2022-12-14, 12:47
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posted on 2022-12-14, 12:47 authored by Woruldhord Project Team

AN00755664_001_l. Silver circular brooch of hammered sheet, slightly convex, and irregular in circumference, decorated with engraved zoomorphic and degenerate foliate ornament. The design is built upon four intersecting, double-contoured circles. Each circle contains a lozenge-shaped panel with incurved sides, surrounded by four subsidiary lentoid fields. Linking these fields and the four corners of each lozenge are nine equally-spaced rivets covered by sheet-metal bosses, one of which is now lost. Each lozenge-shaped panel has an animal motif, with a secondary, lightly-incised contour line. The background is sketchily filled with cross-hatching. The two lower panels each contain a quadruped: that on the left has an almond-shaped eye and an open mouth with a short lappet; one foreleg is raised, and the body is decorated with wavy lines; the tail is tucked behind the back legs. In one corner is a plant spray and between the legs is a cruciform interlace knot. The second quadruped has a scrolled ear and a semicircular eye, and it glances backwards; one foreleg is raised, the hip is spiralled, and neck and body are decorated with wavy lines. In the bottom left corner is a plant spray. The two upper panels have interlaced ribbon animals. In the left panel are three entwined snakes, two of them sharing the same body, with open mouths, semicircular eyes, and rings where the necks and tails cross their bodies, which are decorated with circles of varying size. The other panel contains a single interlaced snake, its looped body flanked by an acanthus spray and a scrolled cruciform knot. The ten subsidiary lentoid fields each contain a shell-spiral with fillets. Similar linear ornament, ultimately derived from leaf designs, also occurs in each of the four wing-shaped fields between the intersecting circles and the border of the brooch. Each field has a pair of eye-shaped motifs with irregularly-placed fillets, separated by a central triangular panel. The brooch has two borders; the inner one is plain, but the outer band is decorated with running crescents and triangles. On the back of the brooch is a fragmentary silver strip, flanked by two incised triquetras and secured by two rivets - all that remains of the attachments for the missing pin and catch-plate. Scratched upon this strip are seven unintelligible, pseudo-runic characters. Around the perimeter of the brooch is the following inscription in Old English, consisting of an alliterative line and two rhyming couplets. Inscription Content: ÆDVÞEN ME AG AGE HYO DRIHTEN / DRIHTEN HINE AÞERIE ÐE ME HIRE ÆTFERIE / BVTON HYO ME SELLE HIRE AGENES ÞILLES. All these images are © Trustees of the British Museum. These free low-resolution images are covered also under the British Museum's Terms and Conditions ( The full image collection is available at: where you can also order high resolution copies.



11th Century

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British Museum


The British Museum

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