The history and provenance of two early medieval crosiers ascribed to Clonmacnoise

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Murray, Griffin
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Royal Irish Academy
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The Clonmacnoise crosier, one of finest examples of early medieval metalwork from Ireland, is described, and its history and provenance are thoroughly investigated for the first time. It is argued that the workshop that created it and related material was located at Clonmacnoise and that abbot Tigernach Ua Bráein (d.1088) may have been its commissioner. While there is no basis to the story that it was found, along with another crosier, in Temple Ciarán, its iconography nevertheless suggests a link with that building and more generally with Clonmacnoise. A crosier-head with a supposed Clonmacnoise provenance is also discussed, its Clonmacnoise provenance is rejected, and it is proposed that it may have been deliberately broken and repaired in the sixteenth century. An attempt to trace its history has revealed the record of a theft of an Irish crosier-head from the British Museum in the nineteenth century, the fate of which remains unknown.
Clonmancoise , Crosier , Archaeology , Metalwork , Early medieval, , Ireland
Murray, G. (2021) 'The history and provenance of two early medieval crosiers ascribed to Clonmacnoise', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy - Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, 2021, pp. 1-33. doi: 10.3318/priac.2021.121.04
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