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Hanging bowls

Hanging bowls are a distinctive type of artifact of the period between the end of Roman rule in
Britain in c. 410 AD and the emergence of the Christian Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during the 7th
century. The surviving examples have mostly been found in Anglo-Saxon graves, but there is
general agreement that they reflect Celtic traditions of decoration.
The bowls are usually of thin beaten bronze, between 15–30 cm (6-12 inches) in diameter, and
dished or cauldron-shaped in profile. Typically they have three decorative plates ('escutcheons')
applied externally just below the rim to support hooks with rings, by which they were suspended. The
ornament of these plates is often very sophisticated, and in many cases includes beautiful
coloured enamel work, commonly in champlevé and using spiral motifs. Although their designs and
manufacture are thought to proceed from Celtic technique, they are principally found in eastern
Britain, and especially in the areas which received Anglo-Saxon acculturation. Their production is
also evidenced in Pictish and Irish contexts, but they seem almost completely absent
from Wales, Devon and Cornwall.
Rupert Bruce-Mitford's corpus gives the following breakdown of the locations in modern terms of the
174 finds he includes (many are just one or more elements of a bowl):[1]
England 117, Scotland 7, Ireland 17
Norway 26, Sweden 2, Denmark 1,
Germany 2, Belgium 1, Netherlands 1