Anglo-Saxon Bronze Strap-End Group

A fine collection of Anglo-Saxon bronze strap-ends, with beautiful engraved decoration. This group comprises of two 10th century AD, tongue-shaped, models with short pin attachments (A and B), two 9th century, type A, ‘Trewhiddle’ styles with split end attachments points (C and E) and one 9th century, type A4 (D). This identification follows a typology compose by Gabor Thomas. The tongue shapes have a broad flat surface with parallel sides and a convexly curved, pointed tips. They are covered with delicate repeating swirl motifs. The Trewhiddle styles have characterful zoomorphic heads on their tips and classic foliate and zoomorphic linear designs. The form consists of convex sides and a width/length ratio of around 1:3.5.


Date: Circa 9th - 10th Century AD
Provenance: From the collection of a North American gentleman, formed in the 1990's
Condition: Excellent Condition
Choice of item A B C D E
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Strap-ends in the Anglo-Saxon period were highly visible, personal items and therefore an important addition to an individual’s appearance. At a time of low literacy, the repeated motifs and messaging imparted by certain styles would have provided a means of expression for the owner, connected to social identity, wealth and status.

The most popular types of strap-end changed significantly over the course of the Anglo-Saxon period. The 7th century saw an influx of continental styles and thus an increase in Germanic zoomorphic designs, with highly regionalised styles. By the time we reach the 9th century, the first notion of a nationalistic art style has appeared with ‘Trewhiddle’ types, with similar designs appearing all the way from Cornwall to Dumfries and Galloway. Enamelling, silvering and niello techniques also reach their peak use. During the 10th century there is an apparent reduction is ostentatious display of personal wealth and so highly ornate strap ends become less common and shorter tongue-shaped styles become the most numerous.

For further reading see: Thomas, G. (2000) A Survey of Late Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age Strap-Ends from Britain. Unpublished PHD.



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Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1896,0411.164

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