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18.10.2021

Сlosed censer

School/style: Winchester style

Cultures/periods: Late Anglo-Saxon

Production date: 10thC(mid)

Found/Acquired: Europe: British Isles: England: Kent: Canterbury (Kent): Palace Street (northern end)

Materials: copper alloy; silver; niello

Cast openwork censer-cover made of copper alloy with inlaid silver and niello. It has an architectural shape reminiscent of a square church tower, with a plinth at the base, on each side of which is inserted a subrectangular blackened silver plate decorated with acanthus ornament. Each corner has a perforated ledge through which passes a narrow rod attached to a suspended chain that allows the lid to be raised to fill the bowl with incense. The frames, inlaid with inlaid blackened silver strips, contain four rectangular side panels, each depicting a pair of animals or birds, their bodies decorated with blackened silver plates. The animals alternately complement or oppose each other, and one of the panels is also decorated with acanthus ornamentation. The triangular pediments above are also framed in blackened silver bands. Three of the gables show a bent animal, the fourth a bird, all originally inlaid with silver. The hipped roof consists of four diamond-shaped panels, three of which contain two intertwined creatures, and the fourth contains a bird and an animal intertwined together. The wing of the bird and the thighs of the animals are inlaid with inlaid silver plates. The four heads of the lower creatures protrude like gargoyles from the corners of the building, while the heads of the three animals and the bird are located at the top of each panel and face outward, just below the biconical headpiece, which is inlaid with a broad band of silver. The tails of the animals in these panels are intertwined and terminate in a protruding toothed leaf at the top of each pediment.

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