A finely cast Romano-Celtic bronze skeuomorphic brooch depicting a wheel shape. It consists of six circular spokes radiating from a central circular nave. The spokes lead to a wide felloe (outside rim), which may have once held enamel decoration. The central nave is convex and possibly held a centre boss at one time. The reverse features the original hinged pin placed in the hook, now fixed in position.
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, with signs of ageing and earthly encrustation visible to the surface.
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.
The wheel was a popular symbol in Celtic art, linked to solar mythology. Wheels were worn as amulets, serving an apotropaic purpose. This brooch was both practical and amuletic in function.
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