Mount of silver gilt

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found on St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Postcard of Mount of silver gilt.
© National Museums Scotland

Mount of silver gilt

This silver gilt mount is one of three mounts found in a hoard of Pictish metalwork on St Ninian's Isle at Dunrossness in Shetland. The hoard was buried on the site of an early Christian church sometime between 750 and 825. Its function is unknown.

The cone-shaped mount is decorated with four arched fields of alternating interlace and animal decoration. At the peak is an area of spiral ornamentation.

The metalwork found in the St Ninian's Isle treasure shows the skill and accomplishment of Pictish craftsmen. Some of the decorative motifs, such as those on the mounts, can be paralleled on contemporary Pictish stones.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-163-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 280
Date: 8th century
Buried between 750 and 825
Material: Silver gilt; conical; perforated just above base; four chip carved panels within arched frames; disc with a pair of semicircular slots detached from base
Dimensions: 1.60" H
What: Mount
Where: Scotland, Shetland, St Ninian's Isle
Description: Conical mount of silver-gilt with four panels of interlace and animal decoration, from St Ninian's Isle, Pictish, 8th century
  • Small, A., Thomas, C., and Wilson, D.M. St. Ninian's Isle and its treasure. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973, vol. 1, pp 60-4 . 
  • Youngs, Susan (ed). 'The Work of Angels'. Masterpieces of Celtic metalwork, 6th-9th centuries AD. London: British Museums Publications Ltd, 1989, pp. 109-10. 
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