Openwork Plaque

Buckle for a Chatelaine

Early medieval
mid 6th–7th century

Object Place: Europe, France


9 cm (3 9/16 in.) DIAM: 7.6 cm (3 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Leaded brass (79.5% copper, 5.9% zinc, 14.1% lead, .5% tin)

Not On View


Europe, Jewelry


Jewelry / Adornment

Openwork circular plaque with projecting pierced rectangular behind which is attached, with three rivets, a larger loop for suspension with three holes. Cast and chased. Forming the center of an openwork wheeled cross with equal splayed arms is a hexagonal boss surrounded by a circle with four projecting lobes. Seven of the same sort project from an outer ring surrounding the arms. The surface decoration was probably cast and then sharpened by chasing. Slightly curved parallel lines forming a chevron pattern interrupted by bands with zigzag lines decorate the ring except for the area under the loop. The eleven projecting lobes show punchmarks surrounded by circles; an identical motif, arranged in a triangle around parallel lines forming a V-shaped design, is found on the splayed arms. The V-shaped design appears again on alternating triangles of the hexagonal boss, which is surmounted by a knob and surrounded by a band of parallel lines resembling rays. (Image shows plaque with modern brass backing as it arrived at the museum in 1970. Backing has (as of 1991) been removed.)


By 1961, Melvin Gutman [see note1]; December 5, 1969, Gutman sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 138. By 1970, with Leopold Blumka, New York; 1970, sold by Blumka to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 11, 1970)

[1] See C. Parkhurst, "The Melvin Gutman Collection of Ancient and Medieval Gold," Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, vol 18, Oberlin, Ohio, 1961, no. 39, pp.106-107.

Credit Line

Purchased with the Bequest of the Estate of Clara S. Wellman Hall