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The Powers of Animals. Migration Period gold collars and the fundamentals of Germanic art

Alexandra Pesch: Die Kraft der Tiere. Völkerwanderungszeitliche Goldhalskragen und die Grundsätze germanischer Kunst. Unter Mitarbeit von Jan Peder Lamm, Maiken Fecht und Barbara Armbruster (Kataloge des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums 47, zugleich Schriften des archäologischen Landesmuseums, Monographien 12). Mainz 2015.

Cover Goldhalskragen
The three fifth-century gold collars from Sweden are exquisite pieces of jewellery of the highest technical and iconographic quality, outstanding products of their time. They were found in the nineteenth century already and have fascinated both amateurs and professionals ever since. Nevertheless, this is the first major academic monograph on the 'regal insignia'. The illustrations are excellent. The emphasis is on how the collars were made, who wore them and what was their significance. Above all, however, the hundreds of figurative images decorating the collars are analysed in detail: tiny figures of animals, hybrid creatures and deities, symbols and signs.  An elaborate pictorial language, based mainly on images of animals, was in widespread use in northern Europe around AD 450. The interdisciplinary approach of this book allows us to penetrate the meaning of these miniatures. The deciphering of the pictorial code provides an in-depth insight into an in many ways mysterious past and the mindscapes of the Germanic people in pre-Christian times.


Hardcover (21 x 30 cm), 671 pages, 720 illustrations, mainly in colour, and 53 colour plates.  With appendices in Swedish (archive information on the finds) and a comprehensive English summary.

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