Ancient Roman Bronze Dove Brooch


A finely cast ancient Roman bronze zoomorphic brooch in the form of a flying dove with swept-back wings. Its slightly hooked beak and curved head are modelled in the round. The wings, outstretched to show the bird in flight, are pyriform in shape and lead to a narrow body, which fans outwards to form the birds tail. The bird is decorated with incised concentric circles to the entire body and wingspan. Underneath is a prominent coil pin spring with the original pin still intact. This rests in a flat-sectioned pin catch.

Date: Circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward.
Condition: Fine condition, covered with green patination


SKU: HL-285 Category: Tags: , ,

Fibulae or brooches were originally used in Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire for fastening garments, such as cloaks or togae. The fibula designs developed into a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. The Roman conquests resulted in a spread of Roman culture and therefore the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated and highly decorated brooches, modelled in bronze, silver and gold and further enriched with precious and semi-precious gemstones. Fibulae are the most common artefact-type in burials and settlements throughout much of continental Europe. By the Middle Ages, the Roman safety pin type of fibula had fallen into disuse.

Romano-British zoomorphic brooches were immensely popular and birds-in-flight make up a large number of this group. Most likely this piece was manufactured in Britain and exported to the continent. Examples of similar pieces appear more abundant in Britain with only a few examples found across the Channel. Often the wings on such brooches would be decorated with enamel.

Weight 8.1 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2 x H 1.1 cm



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