Mount, reused as a brooch

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from Westness, Rousay, Orkney

Postcard of Mount, reused as a brooch.
© National Museums Scotland

Mount, reused as a brooch

This gilt bronze mount, probably from a shrine for a Gospel Book, was found in a wealthy woman's grave at Westness on Rousay in Orkney. It was made in the 8th or 9th century, and probably looted by Vikings. It was then refashioned into a brooch.

The mount shows a lion, the symbol of St Mark, in high relief, his body decorated with lines and patterns. Around him is a background of scrolls in lower relief. The object is decayed and damaged.

The Vikings were both raiders and traders. Some objects, such as this one, could only have been obtained as loot, since no Christian would have destroyed a shrine. However, once taken, the object may have been traded - the looters need not have lived at Westness.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-675-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0036: Kiloran Bay Viking Burial (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 730
Date: Manufactured in the 8th or 9th century; reused between 850 and 900
Material: Bronze; rectangular; cast decoration within a raised border, wolf in high relief; background of scrolls in low relief; very decayed
Dimensions: 2.60" x 1.25"
What: Mount
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Rousay, Westness
Description: Rectangular bronze mount with cast decoration within a raised border of a wolf in high relief, with background of scrolls in low relief, from Westness, Orkney
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