Ceremonial Clasp from the Regolini-Galassi Tomb

Among the valuable artifacts worn by the deceased and one which astonished the excavators in its golden surface was this extraordinary ceremonial clasp (fibula), a unique masterpiece of antique goldsmith art. 

The clasp, due to its remarkable size and decorative exuberance, constitutes an exclusive ceremonial ornament that brings to mind a similar fibula with a disc bracket commonly used in the Iron Age. The clasp represents the highest level of Etruscan goldsmith technique which, like its iconographic motifs, is linked to ancient Near-Eastern metalworking tradition. 

Elements obtained with various techniques (fittings, embossments, cutouts) are enriched by a refined granulation in which very small micro-welded spheres delineate contours and details of the figures and define decorative motifs. The decorative program’s various animals and symbolic apparatuses are characteristic of the composite figurative culture that manifests itself in Etruria in the Orientalizing period. The artistic influence from the ancient Near East is particularly observable in the object’s griffins, intertwined arches, palmettes, and head of the female deity – the Egyptian Hathor or the Phoenician Astarte.