Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Belt Buckle with Angel

Belt buckles became fashionable in the fifth and sixth centuries as the Roman toga fell out of fashion and trousers became popular. Although buckles served a practical function, they were valued as jewelry. The skillfulness evident in this piece sets it apart as an especially precious example. The use of gold, a soft metal for this type of object, further suggests that this piece was made for ceremonial purposes only, rather than for daily wear. The decoration, which centers on the bust of an angel (perhaps one of the four archangels), also supports the likelihood that it was owned by a high-ranking official of the court or a member of the clergy.

Belt Buckle with Angel
5th–6th century AD
Gold, bronze
L. 2 11/16 in. (6.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 76.80.8