June 9, 2014 AT 1:00 pm

British Museum Curator Reveals Anglo-Saxon Art Decoding Techniques

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British Museum Curator Rosie Weetch discusses how she decodes the hidden symbols in Anglo-Saxon art on the museum’s blog here!

One of the most exquisite examples of Style I animal art is a silver-gilt square-headed brooch from a female grave on the Isle of Wight. Its surface is covered with at least 24 different beasts: a mix of birds’ heads, human masks, animals and hybrids. Some of them are quite clear, like the faces in the circular lobes projecting from the bottom of the brooch. Others are harder to spot, such as the faces in profile that only emerge when the brooch is turned upside-down. Some of the images can be read in multiple ways, and this ambiguity is central to Style I art.

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