Anglo-Saxon 'Enamelled Bird' Hanging Bowl Mount
Copper-alloy and enamel, 7.04 grams, 41.42 mm. Circa 6th century AD. A cast copper-alloy mount in the form of a long-necked bird, perhaps a cormorant, with elliptical body and short tail. The mount is formed with a hollow underside and curved neck; the hollow is filled with cuprous corrosion products where it was attached to the rim of a hanging bowl. The creature's back is formed as an elliptical panel with yellow enamel infill surrounded by a thin enamelled outer border which extends to the tail. The neck is D-section and arched to form a hook, with the eyes and beak indicated on the upper face. The mount was used as one of a series of hooks by which the bowl was suspended. Hanging bowls formed part of the currency of prestige in 6th-7th century Britain; most of them appear to have been produced in British workshops and feature enamelling, a technique not often used by the Anglo-Saxons; they are mainly found in high-status Anglo-Saxon graves. It is likely that they formed part of the tribute and dowry exchanges. Reference: cf. triangular mounts on a bowl from Ipswich in West. S. A Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Finds From Suffolk, East Anglian Archaeology 84, Ipswich, 1998 fig.69 and discussion in Bruce-Mitford, R. and Raven, S. The Corpus of Late Celtic Hanging-Bowls with an Account of the Bowls Found in Scandinavia, Oxford 2005. Very fine condition. Provenance: found Wiltshire, UK.