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Home > Auctions > 19th March 2010 > Hiberno-Saxon - Bronze House Shrine Cover

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LOT 588

Sold for (Inc. bp): £29,900

(105 mm overall, 54 grams.).

Circa 8th century AD. A fine example of a hollow cast copper-alloy house shrine cover in the form of a decorated roof-ridge similar to examples in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; the central feature a quadrilateral projection with recessed gilt panels bearing double-contour interlace decoration on the lateral surfaces and herringbone detailing on the ends, below which on the sides quadrangular interlace panels with prominent frames; the body consisting of a hollow, flat-topped bar with lightly incised panel decoration, the bar terminating with involuted, opposed animal heads resting on the upper face, with finely moulded clenched teeth and jaws; below each terminal on both faces a subtriangular gilded panel of geometric interlace, the rising ends decorated with double rows of herringbone texturing and the upper face pierced in two places to accept an attachment; beneath are two tongue-shaped projections pierced to attach the piece to the top of the shrine.

From the estate of a deceased collector.

Webster & Backhouse, 1991, pp.175-9; Wallace & O Floinn, 2002, pp.191 & 205-6; also cf. the Monymusk reliquary casket, Zaczek, pp. 105-6 (with excellent illustration showing the method of attaching this part to the casket)

Stylistically, the interlace decoration is similar to the 8th century chalice from the Ardagh hoard and the Gandersheim casket. The Monymusk reliquary, once containing a relic of St Columba, was carried into battle at Bannockburn in 1314, as a talisman.