A Bronze Age Central European spiral-style Armilla (arm band) c. 1500 BCE


Made from a single sheet of hammered bronze plate, this handsome armband was formed from sixteen turns into a continuous spiral that terminates into fine flattened spiral disks at either end. 

One of the most famous symbols of the bronze age in Europe, these elaborate forearm decorations epitomize metallurgical production of the workshops found in the areas south of the Carpathian Mountains during the Late Bronze Age. In continental Europe, no workshops were more prolific, creative, or technologically accomplished. The personal ornaments, weapons, and vessels they produced were widely imitated and exported and have been found in settlements as far away as Scandinavia, France, and Italy. Though spirals had long figured in Bronze Age ornamentation, the workshops transformed what was a flat decorative motif into a sculptural shape for an array of jewelry that incorporated spirals. These products are noteworthy for the powerful, almost modern simplicity of their forms. Armbands were usually worn in pairs on the lower arms; they were sometimes complemented by finger and toe rings, as well as by leg bands. It is impossible to say whether these imposing pieces were used exclusively for ceremonial purposes, but the rarity of their forms suggests the elite status of their original owners.

Dimensions: Height: 10½ in. (27 cm.)

Condition:  With some minor losses to the surface, intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance:  Private Canadian collection, acquired Christies London, April 2001 and previously the property of a private collector.

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