Gold fibula of "sanguisuga" type

CULTURE:
Etruscan
DATE:
second half of 7th century BCE
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General Description

One of the most popular types of Etruscan jewelry is the fibula, a garment fastener consisting of a straight pin coiled to form a spring at one end, a catchplate that secures the pin at the other end, and a decorative element that holds pin and catchplate together.

Typologically, this fibula belongs to the same group as 1991.75.2, though the curved, separately made extension of the catchplate assumes the shape of a pair of horses' heads, and the hollow bow features a very different type of added decoration. The bow of this fibula is covered with pieces of flat gold wire in longitudinal rows. Each piece, made of a narrow strip of sheet gold with slightly raised edges, curls under on both ends in little loops. Incorporated into the overall design on both sides of the bow is a floral projection in the shape of a stylized rosette. These rosettes are constructed of two radiant circles of curled strips of gold, a smaller one atop a larger one, with a gold pellet in the center. A small section of the underside of the bow, surprisingly, reveals granulated ornaments.

Excerpt 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), 34, 122.

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.