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Artist: Unknown Celtic Artist Primary
4th century-3rd century BCE
Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.63 in. (13.97 x 13.97 x 1.59 cm)
Object Type: Jewelry
Medium and Support: Copper alloy
Credit Line: Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.191.247)
Accession Number: L2010.01.11
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

During the Iron Age, torcs were symbols of both social and religious power. These stiff neck rings were worn by high-ranking members of various European cultures, but are most commonly associated with ancient Celtic kings and Druids. The prestige of the torc’s wearer was defined by the preciousness of the metal used and degree of embellishment; some surviving torcs are made of gold and elaborately decorated. This is a modest example.


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Refers to the culture and styles associated with the Celts, an early Indo-European people who spread over Europe, from the British Isles and northern Spain to east of Transylvania, the Black Sea coasts, and Galatia in Anatolia, from the second millennium BCE to the first century BCE. Elements of the style persisted for centuries in southern Scandinavia and the post-Roman British Isles. It is characterized by a reference to the art of ancient Italy, Greece, and the East, combined in a new and individual style that includes a strong sense of form and structure, stylized plant, animal, and human forms, a balance of voids and ornament, vigorous vitality, and contrasts of texture.
copper alloy
Alloy in which copper is the principle element.
Ornaments such as bracelets, necklaces, and rings, of precious or semiprecious materials worn or carried on the person for adornment; also includes similar articles worn or carried for devotional or mourning purposes.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Necklaces, collars, bracelets, or similar ornament consisting of a narrow band or strip in a rigid curved or circular form, often twisted, and usually of precious metal.

Portfolio List

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