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Franks casket
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When it came to light in the nineteenth century, this magnificent rectangular whalebone casket was being used as a family workbox in Auzon, France. At some point during its mysterious history it was dismantled and one end panel was separated from the rest of the box. This piece was bequeathed to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.

The carvings on the casket tell stories from Germanic legends (Weland the Smith), Christianity (the Adoration of the Magi) and the classical world (Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf). It is also inscribed with Anglo-Saxon runic letters. The style of the carvings and the dialect of the inscriptions show it was made in northern England and demonstrates the international culture that flourished there in the eighth century AD. It is known as the Franks Casket after Sir Augustus Franks, who gave it to the Museum.

Franks casket

From Northumbria, England, first half of the 8th century AD
Ht 10.9 cm
Given by Sir A.W.Franks



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