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Gold shoulder clasps
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These heavy gold shoulder clasps were found in the famous ship burial at Sutton Hoo, thought to be the tomb of Raedwald, a powerful East Anglian king. They would originally have been attached to lightweight body armour, probably made of leather as no trace of it remained in the grave.

The clasps are covered with immaculately executed decoration consisting of hundreds of individual gold cells filled with garnet, millefiori glass and intense opaque blue glass. The bold designs of entwined boars are made with some of the largest garnets known from Anglo-Saxon England. Their strong shoulders are made from large slabs of millefiori, their tusks from blue glass and their spiky crests and curly tails delicately picked out in small garnets. The boar motif, based on an animal respected for its ferocity, strength and courage, may have symbolized the prowess of a warrior.

Gold shoulder clasps

From Mound 1, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England, early VII century AD.
L. 12,7 cm.
W. 5,4 cm.
Gift of Mrs. E.M. Pretty.

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