MS ms 5579/4
MS Short Title CUMDACH BOSS (2)

Central boss for the upper cover of a book binding or cumdach (book shrine) for an Irish Gospels MS

Boss in bronze with gilding gone, Ireland ca 750-850, 1 boss diameter 6 cm, height 2 cm, with quality Insular cruciform knotwork decoration with the Celtic Cross finials ending with 4 mythical beast heads possibly representing the 4 Evangelists, in the style of the knotwork crosses on the St. John page of the Book of Kells. Remains of iron fittings for later Viking re-use as a brooch.

Context The original jewelled treasure bindings as well as the cumdachs of the Book of Kells and most other Irish Gospel MSS are lacking, ripped off during Viking raids on the monasteries, the metalwork and jewellery given to Viking women, mounted as brooches with iron needles. Part of a hoard of 78 Viking and Irish iron and bronze artefacts found at Vang 1900-1901 and presented by the Schøyen Collection to the library of Oslo katedralskole 2016.
Provenance 1. Monastery in Ireland (ca 750-850); 2. Taken by a Norwegian viking, given to his woman in Vang, Oppdal, Sør Trøndelag (ca 850-950) and buried with her on the vast Vang burial field; 3. Excavated in Vang by farmer (1900-1901) and with his heirs (-1993); 4. Knut Erik Bergan, Oslo, acquired March 1993; 5. Gift from the Schøyen Collection to the library of Oslo katedralskole October 2016.
See also MS 5579/1, MS 5579/2 and MS 5579/4
Place of origin Ireland
Dates 750-850 AD