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Eight silver bowls

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from St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Eight silver bowls
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These eight silver bowls were found in a hoard containing 28 silver objects and part of a porpoise's jaw, buried in a ruined chapel on St Ninian's Isle, at Dunrossness, on Shetland between 750 and 825. The objects probably belonged to a Pictish chief.

Seven of the bowls are tableware, perhaps for drinking. The eighth is a hanging bowl. Two bowls have enamelled gilt mounts. The sides and bases of the bowls are ornamented, mainly using punched dots to outline or fill in backgrounds.

The metalwork found in the St Ninian's Isle treasure shows the skill and accomplishment of Pictish craftsmen. The use of dotted backgrounds and some of the animal decoration are distinctive Pictish artistic traits.

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