Date first half of 7th century
Movement Early Medieval
Provenance Sutton Hoo ship burial
Housed at The British Museum
As in cultures before them, the Anglo-Saxons buried important persons with their personal effects. Found at the Sutton Hoo ship burial amongst a horde of military gear and treasures, it is thought to have belonged to King Raedwald; it is unclear if a human body was buried with the gear or if the site was more of a monument. Metalworkers employed, intricately, the Germanic animal style here (that originated, in fact, in Iran), with serpents and eagles interweaving amongst themselves across the buckle’s face; while Graeco- Roman artists freely used negative space to add depth and perspective to a work, here we see the opposite, possibly for “fear of empty space” (horror vacui).