Insular ornamental metalwork AD 300 - 500: 'Military Style' inspired art in Ireland and Britain
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The first dedicated examination, analysis and contextualisation of a corpus of Insular metalwork characterised by highly-accomplished, reserved fine-line ornament. Comprising mostly silver and copper-alloy dress-fasteners, such as select disc-headed pins, hand-pins, proto hand-pins, zoomorphic penannular brooches and miscellaneous mounts, their shared attributes of exquisite artisanship, remarkable finesse, crisp lines, miniature fields of ornamentation and the use of precious metal sets them apart from contemporary and later Insular ornamental metalwork. It is argued that technically, stylistically and artistically, these objects constitute a distinct corpus and represent a largely unrecognised artistic oeuvre, that represents an Insular rendition of provincial late Roman art of the fourth and early fifth centuries AD, and can be designated the Insular Military style. Microscopic and scientific analysis confirms the distinctness of the corpus and, when married to existing typologies, confirms the tightness of its chronological range.