Bronze mount in the shape of an animal mask

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From Brough of Birsay, Orkney

Postcard of Bronze mount in the shape of an animal mask.
© National Museums Scotland

Bronze mount in the shape of an animal mask

This bronze mount was found on the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. It was probably part of a Scandinavian type penannular brooch, brought from Scandinavia and worn in Orkney sometime between 875 and 975.

The small mount is in the shape of an animal mask, perhaps a cat's head, with rounded ears and large eyes.

A variety of penannular brooches were worn by men and women to fasten their cloaks during the Viking period in northern Europe. Viking craftsmen adopted the form from Irish or Scottish examples, but used popular Scandinavian motifs such as masks.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-570-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HB 434
Date: 875 - 975 AD
Between 875 and 975
Material: Bronze; animal mask; rounded ears and large eyes; secondary incisions
Dimensions: 29 mm x 17 mm
What: Mount, brooch
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Description: Borre style cat's head mount from a Scandinavian type penannular brooch, from Birsay, Orkney, 875 - 975 AD
  • Curle, C.L. Pictish and Norse finds from the Brough of Birsay, 1973-74. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 1, 1982, p 63. 
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