Löwenförmiger Schildbeschlag - Ein bajuwarischer Löwe aus Italien
The shield was the most important defence weapon of the early mediaeval warrior. It consisted in its centre of several slightly bent panels that were covered in leather or raw skin. This body of the shield measured up to a meter in diameter and ca. 1.5 cm at its thickest point; in its middle was a hole. There, the hand held the shield on a grip fastened to the back, called the bar grip. On the front, it was protected by the shield boss fastened onto the shield with rivets. One can expect that most of the shields were more or less richly painted. The iron shield bosses are rarely decorated and the décor is limited to the shield rivets made of non-ferrous metal or silver. Such a magnificent shield boss as the one found in the 1880s at Ischl, is a complete rarity. Unfortunately, the finder did not empty the tomb completely. A heavily damaged short sword and a shield boss in the shape of a lion were lost while in the care of the next owner. One might even imagine that originally there were further shield bosses. To this day remain – apart from the shield boss presented here – three bosses that depict twice a bird of prey and once a lion. They were fixed with rivets near the rim of the shield, as can be shown by comparable findings, which hail mostly from Upper Italy. They form important proof for the strong relationship between Southern Germany and Northern Italy during the early Middle Ages.
Archäologische Staatssammlung München