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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?

June 9, 2021 — 8:10 pm
Comments: 9