Purse cover

Purse cover

Date first half of 7th century

Movement Early Medieval

Medium Gold with garnets and enamels

Length 8″

Provenance Sutton Hoo ship burial

Housed at The British Museum


This purse would have been attached to the Sutton Hoo gold belt by three strands of leather. Motifs are reminiscent of much earlier themes; for example, the man flanked by two standing animals recalls Mesopotamian art dating to 2600 BCE, and highlights the fact that art from this region and era reflects the migrating and meshing of tribes and cultures that was so commonplace.