Casket of carved whalebone

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from Fife

Postcard of Casket of carved whalebone.
© National Museums Scotland

Casket of carved whalebone

This whalebone casket was made in the West Highlands in the 15th or early 16th century. It is said to come from Fife.

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: 000-100-049-339-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  Q.L.1949.2
Date: 15th or early 16th century
Material: Bone, cetacean; brass; wood, green baize covered
Dimensions: 220 mm x 110 mm x 110 mm
What: Casket
Where: Scotland, Fife
Description: Fife casket of carved cetacean bone with brass mounts and lock
  • Caldwell, D. H. (ed). Angels, Nobles and Unicorns: Art and Patronage in Medieval Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1982 
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