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The Fuller Brooch

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Version 2 2022-12-14, 12:47
Version 1 2022-12-09, 18:03
educational resource
posted on 2022-12-14, 12:47 authored by Woruldhord Project Team

AN00035987_001_l. The Fuller Brooch. Circular brooch of hammered sheet-metal, slightly convex in section. It is extensively inlaid with niello and has an openwork outer zone encircling a central roundel which is framed and divided by broad milled borders, into a central lozenge shape surrounded by four subsidiary lentoid fields. These are punctuated at the four points of intersection by bosses, with a fifth at the centre; three of these conceal rivets attaching the (lost) pin mechanism behind. The decorative scheme consists of personifications of the Five Senses in the central roundel, surrounded by the openwork zone of smaller roundels containing alternating geometric animal and human motifs symbolising the different aspects of Creation in a not-quite-symmetrical arrangement. The large central field is occupied by a three-quarter length personification of Sight, with large oval eyes. In each hand he holds a drooping foliate spray with double nicked details; above his head is a three-staged leaf, and on either side of it a triquetra. The points of the lozenge, each with a domed rivet, touch the border of the circular field, creating four lenticular panels, each with a full-length human figure depicting one of the other Senses. They wear short jackets and belted tunics. Any background space remaining is filled with an assortment of foliate scrolls or interlace. In the upper left panel is Taste, with one hand in his mouth, the other holding a foliate stem, while profiled Smell, in the top right, is flanked by two plants, and has his hands behind his back. Touch, in the bottom right panel, places his hands together, and Hearing, in the bottom left, appears to be running, and cupping his hand to his ear. Everything is set upon a nielloed ground. The back is plain and the pin mechanism is now missing. Two small holes at the top may have been for suspension. 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.



9th century

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British Museum


The British Museum

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