Book Clasp

German, French, Swiss, or Italian
Early medieval
late 6th–7th century


5.6 x 4.6 x 0.5 cm (2 3/16 x 1 13/16 x 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View





Rectangle with deep flange around the edge at the back, recessed protrusion at one end, and cast decoration. Cast in one piece, chased minimally, and gilded. A rectangular field at one end contains a curved band interrupted by what might be a foot in each corner and with an eagle head on one end and a boar’s head with a tooth and inlaid red glass eye on the other. The heads intersect a nearly oval dotted band with legs (a hip and foot with five toes) at each end. Interstices are filled with three areas for glass inlay. A large empty field separates the decoration above from a narrow space containing three different abbreviated animal forms: a foot with three toes and two small animals with spiral bodies and simple heads, each with one eye. A small chevron pattern forms a border around the top and through the center.


Until 1967, Hugo Oelze (d. 1967), Amsterdam; 1967, by inheritance to his brother, Dr. F. W. Oelze, Germany [see note 1]; 1968, sold by Dr. Oelze to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 13, 1968)

[1] Per MFA curatorial recommendation letter of March 13, 1968 by Hanns Swarzenski.

Credit Line

Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour