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Frankish - Digitated Fibula - Walters 542443



Bow fibulas are also called "digitated" fibulae due to the radiating knobs that resemble fingers or digits emerging from the headplate. The knobs of early (4th-century) fibulae were functional and held the springs of the pin. At a later date, as on this 6th-century example, the knobs became purely decorative. This fibula has seven knobs alternately inlaid with garnets or glass paste and concentric circles filled with niello (a mixture of copper, sulphur, silver and lead). While seven-knobbed fibulae are much less common than the five-knobbed types, they are likewise found in northeastern France and the Rhineland. They were worn in pairs at the shoulder or as belt ornaments by women with noble status in Frankish society.



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