Medieval Scotland

An exhibition bringing to life iconic objects from medieval Scotland is to go on display this week.

A photograph showing bronze hand-bells

About the images

An exhibition bringing to life iconic objects from medieval Scotland is to go on display this week.

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Celebrating a period of innovation and sophisticated craftsmanship, Creative Spirit: Revealing Early Medieval Scotland will showcase re-creations of objects that did not survive or are badly preserved.

Highlights include reconstructions of the Birnie Bell, a Pictish drinking horn and an early Christian leather satchel from Loch Glashan, Argyll, the type of which would have been used by monks to carry and protect the Bible.

The re-creations, due to go on display at the National Museum of Scotland, offer visitors a rare glimpse into the fascinating early medieval period of Scottish history.

Creative Spirit: Revealing Early Medieval Scotland will go on display from 25 October 2013 until 23 February 2014.

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All images © National Museums Scotland

A photograph showing bronze hand-bells
Hand-bells are one of the most important objects associated with the earliest evidence for Christianity in Scotland. The bells we are now familiar with are normally a flared circular dome and cast as a single bronze piece that can then be lathe-turned and tuned. The early Christian hand bells combine what are now two very separate schools of craft: bronze casting and blacksmithing.
A photograph showing a large fragment of a dish with gold coloured embellishments.
Parts of the dish were buried in a silver hoard at Traprain Law more than 1,500 years ago. Only two fragments of the dish, both from the rim, survive.
A digital reconstruction of a dish fragment found more than 1,500 years ago.
Laser scanning and digital reconstruction allowed an accurate full-size reconstruction of the dish, based on the curve and appearance of the surviving fragments. The results reveal that the plate was 70cm in diameter, making it one of the largest known examples from across the whole of the Roman Empire.
A large collection of Pictish silver artefacts laid out on a black background.
The Norrie’s Law hoard, one of the most important and largest hoards of Pictish silver ever found, was unearthed in Victorian Fife and almost lost to future generations, after most of it was illegally melted down. It contains a pair of hidden Victorian fakes.
A silver hand-pin, a pewter copy and a silver copy.
This image depicts, from left, the original silver handpin, the pewter facsimile created by jeweller Robert Robertson in 1839, and the silver copy added to the hoard in 1839. Robertson was commissioned by antiquarian George Buist to make pewter copies of some of the items to help track down missing pieces of the hoard. By planting the fakes he duped both Buist and generations of later scholars.
A silver plaque with ornate details, plus a pewter and silver copy.
This image shows, from left, the original silver plaque, the pewter facsimile created by Robertson in 1839, and the silver copy added to the hoard in 1839.
A stone book satchel engraved with four people and a tree.
The stone inspired the recreation of a book satchel. Book satchels played a key role in Scotland’s conversion to Christianity by allowing religious texts to be easily portable by monks spreading the word of God.