Female Burial, Vix, Burgundy 

500 BCE 

height of terminals 2.5 cm


Musée Archéologique, 

Châtillion sur-Seine


The Vix torque is a spectacular example of Celtic metalwork.  The torque is composed of more than twenty cast pieces. (Eluère, 352)  The body of the torque is composed of hollow gold tubes.  The decoration is limited to the terminals of the torque.  The ends of the torque morph into the fell of an animal, wither a horse or a deer.  The ãhoovesä rest on a ball of hollow gold.  A series of concentric circles connects the hoof to the gold ball.  Within each register created by the circle, a separate pattern of decoration is includes, for example, a series of dots or cross hatching.  On the back of the hoof of the animal is placed a winged horse, sometimes called a Pegasus.  The horse appears to be running or leaping forward, towards the center of the torque.  The horse rests on a platform constructed by a series of registers of interlocking loops.  On the side of the gold ball opposite the hoof, can be found another series of concentric circles, echoing those around the join of the hoof and the ball.  The composition of the metal is almost pure gold, attesting to the great wealth of the woman. (Eluère, 352)  It is interesting to note that before the 3rd century BCE, both gold and bronze torque are found in men's and women's graves.(Eluère, 354)  After that time,  and for reasons unknown, they appear to be worn only by men and were frequently used as offerings. (Eluère, 355)  It could be suggested that this symbolizes another shift in the status of the female within Celtic culture as was suggested in the introduction to the Man with regard to weapons and wealth in 5th century BCE graves.
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