Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: the Orientalizing phase

Granulated gold fibula

This fibula is adorned with fine granules by figures of felines with their heads turned backwards, on the bow, and palmettoes on the foot.

More info

Granulation is a jewellery manufacturing technique whereby golden or silver spherules, or granules, are affixed to a surface, usually a foil of gold and/or silver alloys. When granules reach minuscule proportions – in the order of 0.1-mm-diameter – the same technique is called “pulverization”. These techniques, both of which had developed in the East, were widely employed by Etruscans.
Granulation was a decorative technique widely used at Vetulonia. Nevertheless, this type of fibula, known as “a flattened leech shape” (a sanguisuga ribassata), is typical of the Po Valley area. This would allow assuming the presence of a Vetulonian goldsmith, who was able to balance cultural elements distinctive of Bologna and Vetulonia.
The presence of foreign craftsmen is an evident indication of the active and frequent relations between Bologna and the settlements on the other slope of Apennines, as well as of the ability of local aristocracies to guarantee the services of skilled craftsmen for themselves.

Provenance: Bologna, Necropolis of the Military Arsenal, tomb 5, known as the “Tomb of the Gold Jewellery”
Datation: 630 B.C.
Material: gold
Dimensions: length: 3.1 cm.
Inventory #: 25648

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