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Winged lion-shaped figure (throne decoration). Urartu, Turkey; 8th century BCE Bronze; Height 16 cm This cast figure with engraved decoration formed part of the decoration of a large throne for one of the rulers of the state of Urartu. It was found in 1884 at the site of Toprak Kale, near Van. Such fabulous figures were intended to protect Urartian rulers against evil forces and to impress ambassadors from other states, emphasizing the richness and power of Urartu. The figure represents a winged lion with a human torso. Executed with great artistic and technical skill, it is decorated with coloured stones and smalt. The figure was covered with gold leaf, traces of which have survived, while the face is of white stone with inset eyes and eyebrows. The head is crowned with a headdress with horns and a crescent pendant hangs around the neck. The wings and lower part of the torso are coated with engraved feathers. Set into the bottom of the paws are pins, probably to attach the figure to a wooden base.
The Strickland Brooch, Anglo-Saxon, mid-9th century. Plain gold panels enrich a lively pattern of dog-like animals with collars, deeply carved to form an openwork effect. The quatrefoil is divided by animal heads and raised bosses. The arms of the central cruciform (cross-shaped) motif, with another boss at its centre, end with four identical heads at the edge. The Anglo-Saxon love of colour and light is clear from the black niello inlay and blue glass eyes which make the decoration stand out. Small dots punched into some areas give it a sparkling appearance. Gold was scarce and highly prized at the time. This style, called 'Trewhiddle' after a Cornish hoard, is typical of fine Anglo-Saxon metalwork of the ninth century. The brooch, which could also be worn as a pendant, is named after the Strickland family of Yorkshire, and may have belonged to Sir William Strickland, a keen collector of antiquities in the nineteenth century. M&ME, 1949,7-2,1