Body-chain with coin-set clasp and jewelled mount. Four chains are joined so as to form an upper-body decoration passing over the shoulders and under the arms of the wearer, and crossing at the front and back. The chains are of complex loop-in-loop construction connected laterally to form a thick flat strap, rather than a round-sectioned chain. They terminate in three-dimensional lions' heads. The lions have large eyes, rounded ears and flat muzzles. A plain tubular collar behind each head contains the end of the chain, fixed in place by a rivet, and each lion has a small ring in its mouth that connects with further rings to link with the frontal plaque, and to gold hooks at the other end, which connect with the back plaque to form a clasp. The collars that enclose the ends of the chains are encircled at each end by a band of twisted, square-sectioned wire.
The clasp at the back of the body chain takes the form of an octagonal open-backed mount set with a gold coin. A border in pierced gold features a foliate design of leafy spirals at the corners, meeting in the centre of each side over a heart-shaped leaf. This openwork border has been backed with sheet gold, so that it now appears simply as a design in relief on a solid background, and four ribbed rings are soldered to the backing in diagonal positions.
The coin is a solidus of Gratian (AD 367-83). At the front of the body chain is a roughly oval gold setting for nine gems. It has a slightly concave solid back. The centre oval cell contains a cabochon amethyst, and surrounding it four almond-shaped garnets (one damaged) alternate with four empty circular cells still containing some sulphur. These may have contained pearls.
- COMPASS, G49 Roman Britain
- Made Of
- amethyst, gold, garnet, sulphur
- Type of Thing
- mount, body chain, coin
- Exhibition History
2008-2009 25 Oct-22 Mar, London, Royal Academy of Arts, Byzantium 330-1453 AD
2005-2006 25 Jul-13 Jan, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2005 12 Feb-26 Jun, Newcastle, Hancock Museum, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2004-2005 1 Oct-15 Jan, Manchester Museum, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2004 30 Apr-21 Sep, Cardiff, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2003-2004 21 Nov-14 Mar, London, BM, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
1994-1995 Oct-Jan, Ipswich Museum, The Hoxne Treasure
- emperor/empress, mammal
- open-work, cabochon cut, pierced
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