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Disc brooch

School/style: Borre style

Cultures/periods: Viking (Middle Viking Period)

Production date: 9thC(late)-10thC

Found/Acquired: Europe: Scandinavia: Sweden: Gotland

Materials: silver

A brooch in the form of a cast silver disc consisting of a plate covered in Borre-style lace with three-dimensional animal and human figures; a central openwork bead and four freestanding quadrupeds are riveted to the plate. The plate has a relief beaded border, within which runs a diagonal-stroke band with a beaded inner edge. The Borré-style zoomorphic weave has four mask-like heads around the base of the central knob and eight heads in profile touching the border; all bands have a double outline with jagged edges to simulate beaded wire. The openwork center handle has eight protruding animal heads; it is held in place by a pair of rivets with ringed washers on the back of the brooch. The legs of the four free-standing quadrupeds pierce the disc to secure them in place; they are reversed, with their tongues extended to touch the back and openwork hindquarters.

They alternate with four inward-facing figures cast on the border of the brooch. Two of them are squatting men whose hands are passed under their knees turned outward and their hands hold forked beards protruding from beneath the chins of their pear-shaped faces. The other two represent animal heads on their front limbs with raised paws holding a bar in their mouths; they have protruding ears and headgear. On the reverse is a cast textile impression of a lozenge-shaped twill with a plain border and a U-shaped fastening with a silver pin clasp at the top. At the bottom is a T-shaped fastener loop. One small casting defect on the disc has been patched.

Disc brooch