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Gold pill box

Gold pill box, second half of the 7th century, Horbourg

A sarcophagus unearthed at Horbourg in 1884 was revealed to contain two Merovingian gold jewellery pieces, which the Musée Unterlinden acquired in 1890. The ring, ornamented with a Roman intaglio design representing a bird, consists of a circular loop finished with a double spiral underneath the cylindrical bezel setting. The most remarkable item in this collection is a cylindrical pill box made from heavy gold sheet. The box and its cover are connected with two hinges. The welding between the various components of this piece is hidden with a chequered filigree design. Filigree work also decorates the outer circumference, the top and the bottom of the pill box, showing traditional S- or hook-shaped motifs. A small eyelet attached near one of the hinges allowed the pill box to be worn around the neck on a chain. It is therefore a bulla, in other words a locket used as an amulet, according to a well-known custom among the Franks. Stylistically, these two jewellery pieces may assuredly be dated to the second half of the 7th century. 

Gold pill box
 

Gold pill box, second half of the 7th century, Horbourg, Musée Unterlinden, Colmar.

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