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Harness Pendant

Site Name Inchra

Classification Harness Pendant

Canmore ID 332596

Site Number NO12SE 178

NGR NO 1874 2079

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish St Madoes
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire


Metal Detector Find

NO 1874 2079 This horse harness pendant is a circular, open-relief mount with a transverse opening suspension lug. The design shows a central figure, possibly wearing a crown and with outstretched hands that appear to be clasped in the mouths of two animals, to right and left. The beasts are slender and sinuous, with leonine-like heads. Each has a clearly delineated mane and a tail that wraps around the hind legs, large paws are delineated in the same way as the man’s feet. The scene could represent Daniel and the Lions but this is not automatic as there are several depictions of a man (sometimes Christ) between two beasts in medieval art. Its style and comparison with a pendant from Old Sarum Castle, Salisbury, suggests a late 11th- to early 13th-century date. The Old Sarum example was originally silvered and enamelled blue. The Inchyra example is the first complete one of this type of harness pendant found in Scotland, although a half fragment with a near identical design had been recovered from Rattray, Aberdeenshire. In addition to the three mentioned, there is one other in the British Museum. They appear to have been more common (or at least they survive better) on the Continent. There is a complete, gilded example from Regenstein Castle, Blankenburg, Germany, and now in the collections of Halle Museum. The Continental examples generally represent animals, frequently birds, sometimes with human faces. Their design repertoire was transmitted from Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages and are found throughout the Romanesque period and into the 13th century on a range of media including architectural reliefs in churches and castles, on sarcophagi, on gold jewellery, metal mounts, ivory, bone and steatite carvings, on bracteates and cloth, as well as in book and wall paintings and on leather. They probably had an amuletic function to avert evil. The findspot of the Inchyra piece is within the route-corridor accessing ferry crossings between St Madoes/Inchyra and Abernethy. Weight: 20.55g; diameter: 39.1mm (46.4mm with suspension loop).

Claimed as Treasure Trove, allocated to Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Perth Museum and Art Gallery


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