The great historic invasion which brought the Celts to Rome early in the fourth century BCE culminated in the occupation of the greater part of northern Italy.
As a result, a new style of decorative Celtic art developed and spread.
The decoration of an iron spearhead found in Hungary is very similar to that of the Waldalgesheim torc.
A small number of stone sculptures found in the Rhineland area of The Federal Republic of Germany also illustrates the rise of Celtic art in the fourth century BCE.The motifs decorating these examples of monumental art derive from the ornamentation of metal objects and they may be interpreted as stone enlargements of metal engravings.The motif most characteristic of these scabbards - the crested head of a fantastical bird - also appears on a fibula found at Conflans (France), which bears witness to the virtuosity of the Celts in the working of iron.The "Hungarian" and "Yugoslav" sword scabbards display new and unexpected variations on foliage motifs.This period of La Tene Culture marks the zenith of Celtic Cuture in Europe.
It is traditionally divided into three cultural periods: The Waldalgesheim Style (c.350-290 BCE), The Plastic Style (290-190 BCE) and The Sword Style (190 BCE onwards.
This type of representation is ambiguous since the foliage pattern conceals, and at the same time evokes, a human face (often caricatured), a mask, or animal heads.
It therefore represents a fleeting vision, in other words, it may be interpreted in two ways.
All these movements to and fro are reflected, inter alia, in the diffusion of scabbards decorated with heraldic pairs of fabulous animals-dragons, griffins and birds of oriental inspiration, which probably originated in Italy.
These works are to be found throughout the whole of the Continental region covered by the Celts, from Normandy in the west as far as Transylvania in the east, from around Warsaw in the north to Belgrade in the south, not to mention northern Italy.
Fibulae discovered in Switzerland are closely akin to the Mediterranean prototypes, but the famous gold torc found at Waldalgesheim differs considerably.