Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Modern Celtic sculpture recovered

Broighter gold boat
photo: Ardfern
"A six-feet-high sculpture of a Celtic sea god stolen from Binevenagh Mountain has been recovered by soldiers on a training exercise." More here.

John Sutton's sculpture of Manannan Mac Lir (Mac Lir means "son of the sea") had been removed in an act of religious vandalism but the damage appears repairable.

It is often difficult to separate what might be called a "culture hero" from a deity and Mannan Mac Lir gave his name to the Isle of Mann. The Broighter gold boat was part of an important hoard of early Celtic art objects and some believe that it was an offering to Manannan Mac Lir, however, the boat served as an icon of the Menapii tribe at the mouth of the Rhine as they controlled the Rhineland sea trade. They also had a presence in Ireland and while the Rhine is often considered a source for the Irish gold which contains platinum inclusions, it is almost certain that if the gold source is actually Asia Minor, then the Rhine was part of the route by which it came to Ireland as the metal type was used neither in Britain nor Gaul. For more background material and illustrations on the hoard, the boat, and the Menapii see my earlier blog entry (Frome hoard).

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