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Viking / Norse Coiled Bronze Neck Torc

Northern Europe, Viking / Norse culture, ca. 800 to 1000 CE. A bronze torc (torq/torque) made of a thick bronze wire with two pieces of thinner wire wrapped around it very tightly from each terminal. The terminals are a two twisted pieces of bronze wire, one formed into an open "Y" shape and the other with an attached, diamond-shaped bronze applique with a lightly incised, cross-hatched pattern. A gorgeous blue azurite patina is on some parts of this torc, especially near the terminals. Could be worn, although the applique is delicate. Size: 9" W (22.9 cm)

The Vikings - groups of people who left Scandinavia to plunder and colonize northern Europe (and who travelled as far afield as northeastern North America and the great kingdoms of the Middle East) - had a distinctive artistic tradition, although many of the metals that they had were acquired through conquest and the bronze for this torc likely was melted down from other bronze objects, perhaps some acquired by looting a monastery or trading in the Mediterranean. Bronze jewelry also served as a form of easily transported coinage; this piece would have spoken to the wealth of its owner.

Condition: Turquoise and blue-green smooth patina over surface with excellent detail remaining. Loss to tip of clasp.

Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection

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