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Cattle jaw bone, motif piece: late 10th century

Cattle jaw bone, motif piece: late 10th century
3 0 c m
actual image size: 29cm x 22cm

Full image caption

Cattle jaw bone with carved interlaced patterns on the surface. This cattle jaw would have been used by craftsmen to practice certain designs. A piece like this was chosen because of its large, flat surface. The same design would be tried out several times, perhaps until the craftsman thought he'd got it right. Patterns like this have been found on Anglo-Saxon metalwork of the same period, like buckles and belt-fittings. Several motif pieces have been found on archaeological excavations in the North West area of the City of London, which raises the question as to whether the north west of London was a craft workers' neighbourhood. Both English and Scandinavians liked complex decorations. Bones and sometimes pottery fragments are found scratched with decorative motifs. The artists may have been trying out ideas, or the bones may have been patterns to show to clients or to guide an apprentice

Image Details

960 AD - 1000 AD
Image Number

© Museum of London

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