Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Copper alloy hand-pin decorated with trumpet scrolls in red champlevé enamel. The semicircular head capped by five projecting 'fingers' fixed to a right-angled projection at the top of the shank. A drilled hole below the central finger indents the decoration on the front of the pin-head, which consists of a peltate design reserved against a red enamel background. The edge of the pin-head has a herringbone pattern inlaid with red enamel, and enamel also occurs on the ends of the fingers. The back of the head has a pattern of four incised lines radiating from the hole.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 7thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 23.4 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Youngs 1989a
    This pin represents an elegant native Irish version of the handpins. The elongated pin and 'five-fingered' head with central hole are considered to be typologically later developments from earlier forms (see 1973,0801.1).

    Bibliography: Smith, R.A. 1903-5. Late Keltic Pins of the Hand Type, ‘Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London’ 2nd ser., XX, 352; Smith, R.A. 1923. ‘British Museum Guide to Anglo-Saxon and Foreign Teutonic Antiquities’, London, 130, fig. 167.


  • Bibliography

    • Marzinzik 2013 135 bibliographic details
    • Youngs 1989a 5 bibliographic details
    • Smith 1923 p.130, fig.167 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G41/dc16/sA

  • Exhibition history

    2005 14 Mar-30 Oct, Woodbridge, The National Trust-Sutton Hoo Exhibition Centre, 'Hanging Bowls'
    1998 18 Apr-12 Jul, Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Celtic Art
    1993-1994 6 Oct-11 Apr, Northern Ireland, Belfast, Patrick: Life and Legacy
    1990-1991 Oct-Feb, Edinburgh, Royal Museum of Scotland, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork
    1990 7 May-30 Sep, Dublin, National Museum of Ireland, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork
    1989-1990 29 Nov-29 Apr, London, British Museum, The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Irish Metalwork

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: 'Handpin'


COMPASS Title: 'Handpin'

Image description



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Object reference number: MCS4452

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