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Ooh…check this out!

This came across my Twitter today. Here’s the British Museum page for it, for zoomable color.

It’s part of the finds from Sutton Hoo, but it’s not on display and I’ve never seen it. It’s a purse lid, so I reckon the white parts were originally leather. Like a pouch flap, I suppose.

It’s not like the BM not to have a ruler in the image, but to give you an idea, the thing is about eight inches wide. So zoom in on the wire work around the bottom edge and think how unimaginably tiny that is.

The BM describes the materials as gold, garnet and millefiori. Millefiori is glass that is worked often in a colorful cylinder that is then sliced into beads. And oh, look at this – the Wikipedia article on millefiori specifically mentions the Sutton Hoo purse.

Zoom in on the object. See the tiny checkerboard patterns? Those are made of glass. That’s the millefiori. Now zoom out until it’s about actual size. Holy cats, how did they do that in the 7th Century? With no magnifying glasses?

Oh, what – y’all thought I dug this up in my yard?


Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 9, 2021, 10:30 pm

And then they put it in a grave forever.

Grave goods astound me. I can see clothes, or maybe a watch or a ring or a necklace.

But think of the fortune in gold artifacts buried with Tut. Or the 90-foot ship at Sutton Hoo. Or this purse lid.

It’s one thing when there is great expenditure by or for a living ruler – the Taj Mahal, for instance, or St. Peter’s in Rome. And these were meant to be seen down the ages.

Grave goods are for someone who is dead, and are lost.

Those people thought very differently from us.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 9, 2021, 10:43 pm

Someday, someday I will get to visit the British Museum. I would like to spend an entire week just wandering at my own pace, looking at wonder after wonder.

Comment from BJM
Time: June 10, 2021, 12:25 am

Sheet…the comment @ 12:23 is me.

Comment from BJM
Time: June 10, 2021, 12:33 am

Me thinks I’m getting all up close and personal with Akismet, cos my comment disappeared.

Here’s the gist of it: the country is run by Idiots.

Comment from Dan
Time: June 10, 2021, 2:21 am

Millefiori starts out big; take a bunch of different colored glass rods, bundle them together so that you get the desired pattern when you look at the end of the bundle. Stick the bundle of rods into a furnace and heat until fused together. Pull the heated bundle like taffy to emshrinken the diameter of the bundle, let cool and then chop slices out of the resulting stretched bundle of rods.

The long version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWIm0YuhkkQ

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: June 10, 2021, 3:52 am

Glass chopping.


@BJM – Idiots – that should have been readily apparent after the Diamond Princess didn’t come drifting into harbor as a ghost ship with a dead captain’s hands on the wheel and yet we shut the entire world down, and permitted the liars to shut it down without hardly a whisper.
That was the perfect petri dish experiment and we IGNORED IT.

I go to the store now and still see idiots in masks when they don’t have to be.
Idiots, and Sheep.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 10, 2021, 1:48 pm

Okay, dammit. You changed my mind. Now I totally want a metal detector.

That is the most amazingly beautiful piece. I wonder how many assistants and how many months or years that took to make…..

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: June 10, 2021, 3:15 pm

Someveg, thanks for reminding us that “I’ll have it done by next Tuesday” was probably not an oft uttered phrase of ancient craftsmen.

Those pieces are amazing, and so was the link Dan provided on making Millefiori.

(Which led to low head high flow turbines, which led to “can you legally build with lumber YOU mill”, which led to “Pole barns”, which led to 10 Dumb building practices, which led to “who the hell is profiting off the ridiculous cost of lumber products – that would be…the lumber companies and mills, not anyone else in the supply chain….there is NO NO NO shortage of lumber products, they’re using COVID and the manufactured crisis as an excuse.”)

Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: June 10, 2021, 5:54 pm

This is the same site that was in the movie “The Dig” you mentioned a while back. I really don’t remember the movie showing any cool artifacts like this but I watched it on your recommendation and thought it was a good movie.

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