Irish Buckle - 7th/8th Century


    This is an Irish buckle of the 7th/8th century, about 70mm long, cast in bronze with champleve panels of enamel, silver foil, and millefiori. This was an entry for Kingdom Arts & Science Tri-Levels (Calontir) 2007.

    This buckle is an extrapolation from two 7th century Irish buckles (one incomplete) and a few odd pieces. It is fun to see how vibrant and colorful the medieval buckles must have looked -- very different from the damaged and corroded examples we generally see.

    Documentation and write-up for this buckle can be found here.

    Side View


    The buckle is hinged in the middle of the tongue plate.

    Rough Castings


    Here are the pieces just out of the mould. These were cast in 2 piece clay moulds from lead models (which were cast using lost wax).

    Casting Flaw


    Ooops moment: Apparently in my rush to get this done before the competition, I put the 2 halves of the mold together a bit prematurely while they were not dry enough. The bottom half shifted about 1/8" (on 2 of the castings). This cost me about an hour of filing and refilling by soldering on shims. The ability to fix your mistakes is the hallmark of a true craftsman... right? Maybe the tendancy not to run your projects up to the last minute would be a better trait.