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from Eglington Castle, Ayrshire

Postcard of Casket.
© National Museums Scotland


This whalebone casket was made in the West Highlands in the 15th or early 16th century. It was formerly preserved at Eglington Castle in Ayrshire.

The casket is formed of six plates of bone secured together by metal mountings and has metal straps strengthening all four sides. The front has a lock and the bone plates are carved in individual panels with interlace patterns.

It is thought that such caskets may have once been common in the West Highlands. Similar caskets can be seen on grave slabs at Iona and Mull.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-002-043-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.UD 10
Date: 15th - early 16th century
15th or early 16th century
Material: Bone, cetacean; bronze mountings
Dimensions: 260 mm x 110 mm x 120 mm
Subject: Costume - small personal boxes (patch, cosmetics, jewel) (NMAS Classification)
Where: Scotland, Ayrshire, Eglinton Castle
Description: Casket of cetacean bone with bronze mountings, decorated with Celtic interlaced designs on its twenty two panels, long preserved in Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire
  • Caldwell, D. H. (ed). Angels, Nobles and Unicorns: Art and Patronage in Medieval Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1982 
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