Norman Gilt Romanesque Buckle Brooch with Lizards


A very unusual, silver-gilt, Norman, annular brooch. The ring is formed as a pair of lizards with their tails wrapped around the shanks, and with their heads raised. The pin to the centre resembles a sword.

Date: Circa 12th century AD
Provenance: Formerly the property of Lord McAlpine, acquired from M Braham in the 1980s.
Condition: Very fine, with some signs of ageing on the surface.


SKU: EH-072 Category: Tags: , , ,

During the Medieval period, the wearing of brooch was very fashionable, with the buckle pinned at the neck as a fastener. Brooches of annular form were used by both men and women from the 12th century onwards, and became extremely popular during the 13th and 14th centuries. Usually they were made of bronze or silver, and in some cases in gold. This brooch displays the fine Norman Romanesque work of this period: Norman visual art shares features similar to those of the cultures they conquered, as is seen in metalwork, stonework, and religious artefacts.

Romanesque art began to appear in Europe around 1000 AD, not giving way to the Gothic style until the 12th – 14th century (though this depends on the region). The styles and techniques used in the Romanesque period are similar to those of the Byzantine Empire. Objects of important practical use, such as signet rings and belt buckles, were turned into fine jewellery, with buckles being made from precious metal and decorated with precious stones and pearls.

The precise symbolic meaning of a lizard differs depending on the culture. In ancient Rome, the lizard was representative of death and rebirth, since it was believed to go into hibernation for the winter, and to reappear again in spring.

Weight 1.88 g
Dimensions L 2 x H 2 cm