Medieval Gilt Bronze Heraldic Harness Pendant with Suspension Mount


A Medieval gilt bronze horse harness pendant attached to a suspension mount. Both are comprised of a square plate decorated with a heraldic motif. The pendant features a suspension loop to the top, whilst the mount presents two perforated lugs. One in a semi-circular shape at the top and the other in a rectangular shape and extends into a hinge at the bottom. The pendant and the mount display a similar heraldic motif which depicts a lion passant surrounded by a circular border. A fleur-de-lis projects from each corner of the plate, on a pelleted field. The reverse remains undecorated.

Date: Circa 12th-14th century AD
Provenance: Found Norfolk before 1990. Acquired on the UK market, 1990s. Property of a retired academic. Export licence required for international purchase. The application will be arranged by the seller, at no additional charges for the buyer. The item can only be shipped after the licence has been obtained.
Condition: Fine condition with some loss of gilding. Patination and earthly encrustations to the surface.


SKU: CY-163 Category: Tags: , , , ,

Small heraldic ornaments, also known as armorial pendants, were of popular use during the late Medieval period. Horse harness pendants come in a variety of shapes including lozenge, square, circular, quatrefoil, trefoil, and a shield. They were attached to the harness through the incorporation of a separate hinged mount, as seen on this fine example. The heraldic charges on these pendants are mostly designed and decorated with enamels and gilding.

The lion is a very common motif in heraldic imagery. It was a traditional symbol of courage, nobility, royalty, strength, and bravery. The many variations of heraldic lions are differentiated by the lion’s positions, referred to as ‘attitudes’. For example, the Lion of England denotes a lion passant guardant. ‘Passant’ refers to a walking position with one fore paw raised and all others on the ground, and ‘guardant’ indicates a frontal head.

Weight 9.09 g
Dimensions L 5.5 x W 1.6 cm



Reference: For a similar pendant, Portable Antiquities Scheme, item NMS-8107BE

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