Silver paten, Derrynaflan, Lurgoe, Co. Tipperary

Silver Paten and Stand, Derrynaflan, Lurgoe, Co. Tipperary

8th century AD

NMI 1980:4

The paten is part of a hoard of altar vessels that included a silver chalice and a bronze strainer concealed beneath a bronze basin within the ancient monastery of Derrynaflan, Co. Tipperary. Used during the celebration of Mass to hold the Eucharist, patens were common in the later Roman world, but few examples survive from early medieval Ireland. The Derrynaflan paten is of very complex construction, assembled from more than 300 pieces. The dish is made of beaten silver which is soldered and stitched with wire to a bronze rim. Twelve curved gilt-bronze frames on the rim each contain two gold filigree panels and a central decorative stud. These frames are attached to each other by bronze rivets, the heads of which are concealed under twelve glass and enamel studs. Some of the filigree panels have abstract patterns, and human and animal motifs are also seen. A number of panels depict pairs of kneeling men placed back to back.

The paten dates to the same period as the Ardagh Chalice, and indeed similar use of filigree, knitted wire, mesh and enamels on both objects suggests that they may have been made in the same workshop.

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