The J. Paul Getty Museum

Leech Fibula

Object Details

Title:

Leech Fibula

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Villanovan

Place:

Italy (Place Created)

Date:

725–700 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze and amber

Object Number:

78.AC.338

Dimensions:

9 × 6 × 4 cm (3 9/16 × 2 3/8 × 1 9/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of David Collins

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Object Description

This leech-shaped fibula (fibula a sanguisuga) is cast in bronze and has both incised and inlaid decoration. Six zones of fine concentric incisions are framed by punched dots around the circumference of the bow. There are five rectangular openings along the spine of the bow; on each side, a series of three rectangles framed by a small circular opening at either end for inlays of amber, five of which are intact. Large leech fibulae ornamented with amber, ivory, bone, gold, and glass were valuable and highly visible markers of female status. Perforated segments of amber were usually assembled to form a thick bow. Some leech and boat-shaped fibulae, however, were embellished with pieces of amber set into the bronze surface

Provenance
Provenance
-1978

David Collins (Beverly Hills, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.