GOLD OPENWORK MOUNT
This magnificent piece of metalwork was uncovered in 1849, when villagers in the German village of Schwarzenbach uncovered two La Tene tombs among their orchards. Here, the principal finds included a small face, modeled out of sheet gold, this fine openwork mount, which as originally used to cover a cup.
The vessel has long since disappeared, it was undoubtedly a funerary cup, for feasting in the Otherworld. The Celts believed strongly in an afterlife and pre-Roman graves often contained wine flagons. The dead were thought to reside at Otherworld 'hostels', where there were magical cauldrons.
This cup-mount displays one of the earliest phases of Celtic metalworking. In time their smiths would endow a comparatively formal design such as this with a flowing, organic quality. The decoration of the treasury is based on palmette and lotus bud motifs, which are oriental in origin, which had probably filtered west through the medium of classical art. On the bottom of the mount, we can see the triskele (three-legged) motif, one of the most omnipresent features of Celtic design.