Parure de poitrine

Chest ornament

This bronze chest ornament is one of the most beautiful known for the Danube zone during this period. At each end it has a violin bow fibula adorned with a disk, made by rolling up the wire that forms the body of the fibula. The shaping work, done by hot hammering, is remarkable, and the two fibulae, at right and at left, are very similar. The wire was also shaped to produce the pin rest for the fibula, the two loops on either side of the bow, then the spring into which a ring is passed, and finally, the pin. The symmetry between the two fibulae shows that the artisan was a master of his work, no doubt done on hot metal.

The chain joining the two fibulae is made of links forged one by one, attached to a central circle with four emanating rays. That circle has a very particular meaning: several examples from this period prove that it is an evocation of the power of the sun, like the Trundholm sun chariot (Denmark) dating from the same era, with its horse drawing a sun plated with a gold leaf that bears a concentric circle decoration. The ornament displayed here is complete, which is the exception. The two fibulae fastened the panels of a tunic in front at each shoulder; they were held together by the two segments of the small chain, which attached to the circle—symbol of the sun—at the center of the chest [1].

Published in: Barbier-Mueller 2003, p. 36–37.

[1Bibliographie : Mozsolics 1985.