Anglo-Saxon 'Birds of Prey' Scabbard Fitting 020578

Anglo-Saxon 'Birds of Prey' Scabbard Fitting 020578
Very Rare Anglo-Saxon 'Birds of Prey' Scabbard Fitting
Gilt copper-alloy with garnets, 7.35 grams, 39.48 mm. 6th-7th century AD. A flat cast mount or fitting in the form of a pair of bird-heads, addorsed, springing from a central bar. The left head is formed with a recurved beak developing into a flat cheek beneath a quarter-round eye socket. Behind and above the socket is a raised right-angled bracket. The eye is formed as a cloison setting for a garnet disc. The right head is present only as far as the cheek. Beneath the left head's cheek is a band of three-band decoration; to its left is a right-angled banded feature, a pair of slightly curved vertical bars and a D-shaped block with internal bar. The use of paired sets of bird-head motifs is quite common on Style II metalwork of the 6th-7th century, with many examples from the Sutton Hoo ship burial (Mound 1) and contemporary metalwork. Directly joined bird-heads are not common, although the feature does occur on a small-long brooch from Bloxhall (Suffolk) and the footplate of a cruciform brooch from Felixstowe, although in neither case does garnet cloisonné appear. On the reverse there is evidence for an attachment peg. The fitting may have formed part of a bridle pendant, such as those found in the horse-and-rider burial in Mound 17 at Sutton Hoo. Reference: West, S. A Corpus of Anglo-Saxon material from Suffolk, East Anglian Archaeology 84, Ipswich, 1998 items 10.7, 45.2 and Carver, M. Sutton Hoo. A Seventh Century Princely Burial Ground and its Context, London, 2005 items 29a, b. Fine condition. Provenance: found Suffolk, England.


This item is accompanied by an illustrated Certificate of Authenticity.

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