Dress accessory: Triangle hooks
Time period: 9th Century
Product Dimensions: 2.2cm wide x 3.7cm long
The triangular plate is decorated with a beaded border and terminates in a stylized animal head leading into the hook. On the central field two opposed scrolls resembling stylized winged snakes or serpents stand in low relief from the background.
Hooked tags were used to fasten clothing and possibly small bags and purses. They occur in various forms from the late 8th C. onwards, but those with triangular head plates seem to become popular from the 9th C. onward.
Manuscript’s also show winingas wrapped spirally around the lower leg. Hooked tags of various types are often found just below the knees of skeletons; a pair of hooks were found below the kneecaps of a male skeleton in Birka grave Bj903, and similar bird or mask-like hooks were found at ‘Ryurik Gorodische’, near Novgorod, 9-10th century. Small silver hooked tags were found in a similar position in a 9th century burial at Winchester, England. The location of the hooks as found in the graves make it reasonable to assume that their function was to hold up the winingas.
Testing indicates the original hooked tag has a silver content of approx. 97% and bear traces of niello. Niello is a black metallic alloy of sulfur, copper, silver, and usually lead, used as an inlay on engraved metal. It can be used for filling in designs cut from metal.
Original source: UK Detector Finds Database Ref. No. 1912. These winigas tags were found Near Gloucester, Glouchestershire.
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