Pseudopennular Brooch
Silver, gilt and glass
Killamery, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Ninth Century, C.E.
Early Medieval, Celtic
12.63  cm.
The National Museum of Ireland

This brooch is a prototype for the pseudopenanular brooches which became popular in the early ninth century.  In the ninth century, jewelry designers used the pseduopenannular style by bridging the ring, which gives the appearance of  being complete.  Also in the ninth century, jewelers designed brooches using larger rings, more filigree, and stylized animals.  This brooch exemplifies these new trends in jewelry making, as well as manifests the new popularity for bossed silver.  The influence of the Vikings brought much silver to Ireland through the creation of new trade routes.

Stylistically, the ring is smooth, yet slightly textured in contrast to the refined ring of the brooch found in Kilmainham.  The pinhead is rectangular, as opposed to the common wedge-shape.  The ring encloses an inscribed rectangle with a diamond-shaped plate of gold filigree.  Silver oval-shaped studs mark the centers of the sides of the head and the upper and lower corners are marked by spiral designs, possibly stylized faces.  An extremely long, narrow pin fastener runs vertically along the ring.  Two trapezoidal silver plates, bridged by two oval shaped silver studs and interlace form the plate of the brooch.  The bridging is off-centered, giving an overall awkward appearance.  Alternating, bossed studs of spiral and animal designs rim the plate.  The bossing is both coiled and brambled.  Again, diamond shaped sections of gold filigree comprise the central portions of each trapezoidal section.

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