Raised copper alloy hanging bowl of 'Celtic' type in fragmentary state, now restored on a frame. Slightly indented base, and carination at the shoulder. Slight indentation before the rim curves out at the top in everted form. Three small circular escutcheons, each with a reserved linear design of four back-to-back peltas on red enamel around millefiori. Each escutcheon is cast in one with a thick incised frame. At the top is small strip of copper alloy adhering to the rim through a suspension loop above the escutcheon.
- early 7thC
- Excavated/Findspot: Sutton Hoo, Ship-burial Mound: 1
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Suffolk,Sutton (parish),Sutton Hoo)
- Diameter: 150 millimetres
- Height: 60 millimetres
- Diameter: 63 millimetres (basal kick)
- Width: 5 millimetres (bowl rim)
- Thickness: 0.5 millimetres
- Diameter: 29 millimetres (hook-escutcheon)
- Length: 47 millimetres (hook-escutcheon)
Discovery and history: From the ship-burial excavated by C.W. Phillips in 1939. Presented to the British Museum by Mrs E.M. Pretty, JP.
Description: The bowl is of developed hanging-bowl form with typical neck proportions and basal kick, though the inner surface of latter is not flat but more curved than normal. This would suggest that it never had a basal escutcheon, and no trace of any is to be seen. A small hole present at the centre of the base indicates finishing on the lathe. The rim form is in the A bowl tradition but the top surface slopes slightly inwards and the outer edge is drawn out into a point. There is no internal overhang.
The three hook-escutcheons are massive for so small a bowl. The hooks, abnormally for A type bowls, are cast in one with the frames, which are competently decorated with incised lines. The moulding at the base of the hook is developed on the frame, instead of on the escutcheon surface. This is another B bowl characteristic seen here in an A type bowl.
The escutcheons have a clean open design of eight interlocking peltae facing alternately inwards and outwards (cf. the fish-escutcheon on Sutton Hoo (1) bowl, 1939,1010.110) in fine-line style. The peltae have open circles forming their ends, each circle being shared by two peltae. These open circles stand in sharp contrast to the pelta-ends on the Sutton Hoo (1) bowl fish-escutcheon, which are tightly coiled spirals.
The tip of the hook is expanded, turned upwards and shaped into a slight suggestion of zoomorphization. The frames are of the same stepped or rebated cross-section as those of Sutton Hoo (1) bowl, and quite different from those of Sutton Hoo (2) bowl (1939,1010.111, which has narrow vertical walls round the outer edge of the disc not shaped to fit over it). At the centre of the escutcheon design is a single inlay of millefiori, a square with rounded corners, made up of six smaller squares of translucent plum-coloured glass each containing an off-white pointed oval shape. The rod is not one used on the Sutton Hoo (1) bowl. The millefiori inlay is pushed into the red enamel ground, not isolated in a separate metal cell.
Discussion: The bowl appears to have been made in the same workshop as the penannular brooch from Arthurstown, Co. Kildare, in the National Museum, Dublin (National Museums of Ireland, Dublin: 1934:10863. See Haseloff, G., 1990b, ‘Email im frühen mittelalter: frühchristliche kunst von der spätantike bis zu den Karolingern’, Marburger Studien zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Sonderband 1, Marburg, colour pl. 120 and Youngs, S. (ed.), 1989, ‘ “The Work of Angels”: Masterpieces of Celtic Metalwork, Sixth to Ninth Centuries AD’, London, no. 17, colour pl. 34). The heavy modelling, fine-line style, and restrained use of millefiori, seem identical. The style is also matched in the Irish hand-pin from Craigywarren bog, Co. Antrim, and the penannular brooch in the British Museum from Co. Antrim (185656,0320.1). This appears to be the region in which the stylistic affinities of the bowl lie. The simple basic design, however, is exactly matched in a steatite disc of uncertain date from Gletness, Orkney.
The bowl shows only minimal signs of repair (Bruce-Mitford 1983, pt. I, 290), and in general is in excellent condition, though a missing hook has to be accounted for (not overlooked in the excavations and therefore the bowl was defective in this respect when buried).
Bibliography: (See also Bibliography for the Sutton Hoo (2) bowl, 1939,1010.111). Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S., 1972, ‘The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Handbook’, London, pl. 24b; Stevenson, R.B.K., 1976, The earlier metalwork of Pictland, in J.V.S. Megaw (ed.), ‘To Illustrate the Monuments: Essays on Archaeology Presented to Stuart Piggot on the Occasion of his Sixty-fifth Birthday’, London, 251; Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S., 1983, ‘The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial’, vol. iii (2pts), ‘Late Roman and Byzantine Silver, Hanging-Bowls, Drinking Vessels, Cauldrons, and other Containers, Textiles, the Lyre, Pottery Bottle, and Other Items’, ed. A.C. Evans, London, pt. I, 257-63, 313-15, figs. 151, 200-05; Evans, A.C., 1986, ‘The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial’, London, 75, fig. 61; Brenan, J., 1991, ‘Hanging Bowls and their Contexts: An Archaeological Survey of their Socio-Economic Significance from the Fifth to Seventh centuries AD’, BAR British Series 220, Oxford, cat. no. 56.
2005 14 Mar-30 Oct, Woodbridge, The National Trust-Sutton Hoo Exhibition Centre, Hanging Bowls
1980 10 Mar-30 Sep, Sweden, Stockholm, Statens Historika Museum, The Vikings are Here
20 October 1965 - 15 September 1989
Reason for analysis
Sutton Hoo hanging bowl
Identification of materials.
Analysis materials group
- Copper & Alloys
Main type of investigation
- Emission Spectroscopy
Analysis reference number
Prehistory and Europe
Bronze hanging bowl of "Celtic" type, in fragmentary state, now restored on a frame. Slightly indented base, and carination at the shoulder. Slight indentation before the rim curves out at the top in everted form. Three small circular escutcheons, each withreserved linear design of four back-to-back peltas on red enamel around millefiori, with thrick collars around each one. At the top is small strip of bronze adhering to rim through suspension loop above escutcheon.
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Object reference number: MCS4008
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