During my ongoing research on early Anglo-Saxon cruciform brooches, I’ve come across a number of frustratingly unclassifiable fragments, so far only recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. Although they looked somuch like they came from the so-called “florid” series of cruciform brooches (and the PAS recorded them as such), this was not strictly demonstrable. Nothing larger than these little plates, to my knowledge, had yet been found (I link to all 10 of these fragments at the bottom of this blog).
One of the mysterious fragments recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database (NMS-312CA1)
Among the cruciform brooch series they seemed unusual. They have an uncharacteristic square outline, and the decoration is strikingly realistic among the more abstract and compositionally complex decoration that is typical of the period. They are decorated, quite clearly, with unambiguous human faces, staring out at us with wide eyes, chubby cheeks and occasionally open mouths, apparently focusing a stream…
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