Clasp

CULTURE:
Etruscan
DATE:
second half of 6th century BCE
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General Description

Open at the bottom, the bases of these Etruscan clasps are made from two rectangular gold plaques. Two pairs of crouching sphinxes, made in the round from sheet gold, sit on shallow boxes with ribbed side walls. The lower ends of the sphinxes' tails, made from round wire, are inserted into the base. The two bases are held together, face to face, by a double hook and two eyes. The bases were originally reinforced with sheet silver, of which corroded traces remain.

Adapted from

Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 35; 126-7.

Fun Facts

  • Jewelry was far more than merely ornament to the Etruscans; it was often close to being a magic charm or amulet and implied the protection of the gods.