Focus on the Object
early seventh-century Anglo-Saxon bowl, probably made in Kent, was discovered
in 1847 in Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire. It was found in the grave of an Anglo-Saxon
of noble rank, during alterations to the Bishop of Oxfords palace.
The bowl subsequently went missing and was re-discovered in 1971 in a
house in Leicestershire, where it was being used as flower vase.
The bowls dark blue colour was created by adding copper to
the molten glass. Around the upper part of the bowl is a thin applied
trail of glass, arranged in ten tight spirals. The lower part of
the bowl is decorated with thirteen vertical loops. These trails
were formed by applying molten glass to the outer surface.
This squat dark-blue jar or bowl was probably a drinking cup. The
grave in which it was found contained another similar blue bowl,
a bronze bucket and an inlaid bronze plaque. A great deal of our
information about Anglo-Saxon England comes from artefacts found
in graves. (Cremation was also practiced at this time, but graves
containing cremated bone (in specially made urns) are usually less
well provided with objects). These grave-goods were believed to
accompany the dead into the afterlife. In Anglo-Saxon burials the
body was normally clothed and provided with ornaments, weapons or
vessels appropriate to its gender and status. Drinking vessels and
miniature buckets held food and drink for the sustenance of the
deceased. Such burials were a pagan practice and gradually died
out once the Anglo-Saxons had been converted to Christianity.