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British Hanging-Bowls

  • T. D. Kendrick

The first person to introduce these bowls to the archaeological world as a group, and with appropriate comment, was that profound student of Celtic art, the late Mr J. Romilly Allen; subsequently, Mr Reginald Smith set himself the task of making a complete list of all the bowls, or parts of bowls, that were known, and he has since placed us further in his debt by the care he has taken in seeing that every new example, as it came to light, was adequately recorded. Since Mr Allen wrote his paper, however, we have not made very much headway with the main problem of deciding their position in the cultural history of this country; even the recent discovery of the beautiful Winchester bowl, that excited us so much in 1930, was allowed to pass without any revision and revaluation of the really astonishing material that had been collected by Mr Smith, and it seemed that the chief interest aroused by the bowls was for ever to be focussed on the apparently insoluble problem of their use. But last year my friend Mr J. D. Cowen published a paper that constitutes in many respects a very important advance; it was the stimulating kind of article that often provokes other people into rival activities, and I hope it will not be counted against him if I admit that one of his results was an immediate decision on my part to put into print the notes I had collected on this same subject. It is Mr Cowen's distinction that he is the first to isolate and appreciate the ‘heater’ group of bowls, to which I shall refer below, and there are several other points in his very vigorous paper that strike me as being valuable and sagacious observations. But what I have to say here and now is that if Mr Cowen is right throughout, much that I am going to say below is completely wrong.

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1 Archaeologia, 1898, 56, 39.

2 Procs. Soc. Ant., 1907-9, 22, 66.

3 Archaeologia Aeliana,1931, series 4, 8, 329.

4 A handsomely engraved 4–loop bowl, with a flange and collar made separately from the body and joined to it by rivetting, comes from Denbighshire ; it was made in the 2nd cent. B.C. Antiquaries Journal, 1926, 6, 276.

5 Associated Architectural Societies Reports, 1875, 13, 89.

6 For this bowl-form abroad see Germania, 1931, 15, 259 , and Lindenschmit, , Handbuch, 1889, 1, 479.

7 Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1901, series 6,1, 24 . The Kingadle strainer is, however, of an earlier type than that from Irchester ; cf. Willers, H., Neue Untersuchungen über die Römische Bronzeindustrie. Hannover, 1907, p. 84.

8 Archaeologia, 1803, 16, 275, pl. XLIX.

9 Procs. Soc. Ant., 1914-15, 27, 76. The usual dating for this hoard is Early Iron Age, and the large vessels therein are compared with the big vessel that contained the late La Tène Santón Downham hoard ; but this, like all authentic La Tene vessels of respectable size, belongs to the composite sheet class, whereas the Wotton vessels were beaten out in one piece.

10 Archaeologia, 1809, 15, 364.

11 Cf. American Journal of Archaeology, 1921, 25, 44.

12 Strictly speaking, I suppose, heater-shaped should mean triangular; but for convenience I am following Mr Cowen and making the term include also the elongated pear-shaped type of escutcheon.

13 Curie, A.O., The Treasure of Traprain. Glasgow, 1923, p. 38, pi. XVII.

14 Grempler, , Der Fund von Sackrau. Breslau, 1888.

15 From a photograph kindly supplied by Dr W. Collinge of the Yorkshire Museum.

16 Cf. Götze, A., Die altthüringischen Funde von Weimar. Berlin, 1912, p. 19, fig. 15.

17 The hole had been plugged with lead.

18 On the other hand, some of the Norwegian non-enamelled ‘heater’ bowls may have been made in the 7th-9th centuries, e.g., the Ulstein bowl in Bergen Museum.

19 The Basingstoke bowl has fish-tailed escutcheons and an extremely complicated intersecting circle device engraved on the base.

20 Brown, Baldwin, Arts in Early England, 4, pl. CXVIII.

21 On the subject of rivetting and soldering (the usual method), see MrCowen, , op. cit. p. 332.

22 See, for instance, Mem. Soc. Acad, de St. Quentin, 1888-9, series 4, IX, pl. 15, no. 11.

23 On the difficult process of making these bowls see Götze, A. Die altthuringische Funde von Weimar. Berlin, 1912, p. 19.

24 Probably about A.D. 150–60. On this see MrCollingwood, R.G. Archaeologia, 1930, LXXX, 57.

25 I omit the Ash brooch (a jewelled disc–brooch with an enamelled centre), as the enamel–work it bears is fine Frankish cloisonné.

26 I do not want, however, to exclude the possibility that our enamellers in the south were to some extent influenced by the sub–Roman enamel–school of the Rhineland; it seems to me that the ‘fleur–de–lys’ escutcheons of the Kingston bowl (fig. 8) may owe something to this influence.

27 See MrCowen’s, op. cit. p. 332ff.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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