Gold pill box

Musée Unterlinden

Place Unterlinden
68000 COLMAR

+33(0)3 89 20 15 50

The Musée Unterlinden is closed

In accordance with directives issued by the French government , the muesum closed its doors from the 14th March 2020 for a unspecified duration. Thank you for your comprehension.



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.

  • Référence : Gold
  • Année :Second half of the 7th century
  • Dimensions : D. 3,5 cm ; H. 2,45 cm ; weight 30 g
  • Statut Findspot : Horbourg (Haut-Rhin), excavated in 1884