Hanging bowl (detail)

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from St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Postcard of Hanging bowl (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Hanging bowl (detail)

This silver hanging bowl with gilt mounts was found in a hoard containing 28 silver objects and part of the jaw of a porpoise, buried in a ruined chapel on St Ninian's Isle at Dunrossness on Shetland. The objects probably belonged to a Pictish chief.

This picture shows the inside of the bowl. At the bottom is an elaborate silver gilt mount (also known as an escutcheon), with a cast design of a procession of hatched animals in chip-carved technique. The inset in the centre boss is missing.

Hanging bowls were first made in Roman Britain, and were popular in Ireland, Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into the eighth century. They are usually of bronze, rather than silver, with elaborate mounts on the outside rim and bottom.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-423-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FC 275
Date: 8th century
Between 750 and 825
Material: Silver, deeply countersunk base, patterned silver disc underneath; circular cast gilt escutcheon of processional animals inside; three oblong boar-shaped gilt escutcheons outside, heads overlapping rim, holding three loose rings; no inset on centre boss
Dimensions: 5.50" D x 1.75" deep
What: Bowl, hanging
Where: Scotland, Shetland, St Ninian's Isle
Description: Hanging bowl of silver with three oblong gilt escutcheons in the form of spreadeagled boars, from St Ninian's Isle, Pictish, 8th century
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, p 118. 
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