Anglo-Saxon 'Bird-Heads' Gusset Plate 020442

Anglo-Saxon 'Bird-Heads' Gusset Plate 020442
Rare Anglo-Saxon 'Bird-Heads' Gusset Plate
Gilt copper-alloy, 4.72 grams, 29.17 mm. 5th-6th century AD. A cast plate from a three-part wrist-clasp set, attached at the apex of the triangular slit and intended to prevent the fabric tearing in constant use. Gusset plates are found in some numbers across eastern England (and in Norway) but are rare elsewhere. The plate comprises an upper disc with a reserved dot at the centre; from either side of this extend two bars which form bird-head terminals whose beaks recurve to meet the bars. A small curved bar is placed between the rear of the heads. The present example is the lower portion of a larger piece formed with an elongated triangle above the circular feature. The paired bird-heads are a traditional feature of Migration Period art which reflects aspects of the religious climate of the age: a pair of birds later came to be associated with Oðinn (Odin) the Norse god of war and magic. Reference: Hines, J. Clasps-Hektespenner-Agraffen: Anglo-Scandinavian Clasps of the Third to Sixth Centuries AD. Typology, Diffusion and Function. Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 1993, p.73. Good very fine condition. Provenance: found Essex, England.
 
This item was accompanied by an illustrated Certificate of Authenticity.

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