The Hunt Scenes of the Irish High Crosses and the Iconography of the Continental Celtic Stag Deity

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Abstract

A cross-shaft originally found in Banagher (co. Offaly, fig. 1, Dublin National Museum inventoryno. 1929: 1497) contains an image of a religious figure carrying a crozier and riding a horse (top) anda trapped deer (bottom). The north side of the Bealin Cross (Co. Westmeath)1 contains aniconographically similar image (fig. 2), although this time the deer is at the top of the shaft, snatchedby the biting hound, and the travelling saint is at the bottom. Although the scenes of hunt in InsularArt are quite numerous, images of hunting stags accompanied by religious figures are not so distinct.How one is to explain the significance of these images? What motifs one finds when looking atsimilar imagery across centuries, traditions and cultures of the Celtic world? The article is an attempt to answer these questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-18
JournalText and Image: Essential Problems in Art History
Volume2
Early online date31 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • early Ireland
  • Irish High Crosses
  • St. Patrick
  • iconography
  • Continental Celts
  • stag deity
  • deer hunt

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