Monday, February 16, 2009

Old Irish Pictish Love Ogham Ceramic Pendant

This "Pictish Ogham Stone" earthenware pendant is another collaborative effort between Grizzly Mountain Arts and Good Dirt Jewelry, aka Jo. I am so lucky to have a master carver with a studio right next to mine! Dave carved the original Pictish standing stone ogham, then made me a wonderful mold from that piece.

This pendant which can be found in our "Good Dirt Jewelry" Etsy shop, spells out the word "Love" in ogham writing, measures about 2 inches in length and about 1 1/2 inches in width. It has been glazed with an earthy bluish-brown glaze and hangs from a sturdy cotton cord with copper clasp. The cord could easily be removed if you have a favorite chain or cord you prefer. A gift box is included with your purchase!

**What are Pictish Ogham Stones?**

Ogham, is an Early Medieval alphabet used primarily to represent the Old Irish language (and, occasionally, the Brythonic ancestor of Welsh). Ogham is sometimes referred to as the "Celtic Tree Alphabet", based on a High Medieval Bríatharogam tradition ascribing names of trees to the individual letters.

There are roughly 400 surviving ogham inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and Britain, the bulk of them stretching in arc from County Kerry in the south of Ireland across to Dyfed in south Wales. The remainder are mostly in south-eastern Ireland, western Scotland, the Isle of Man, and England around the Devon/Cornwall border. The vast majority of the inscriptions consist of personal names.

Monumental ogham inscriptions are found in Ireland and Wales, with a few additional specimens found in England, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Shetland. They were mainly employed as territorial markers and memorials (grave stones). The stone commemorating Vortiporius, a 6th century king of Dyfed (originally located in Clynderwen), is the only ogham stone inscription that bears the name of an identifiable individual. The language of the inscriptions is predominantly Primitive Irish and Old Irish, apart from the few examples in Scotland, such as the Lunnasting stone, which record fragments of what is probably the Pictish language.

The more ancient examples are standing stones, where the script was carved into the edge (droim or faobhar) of the stone, which formed the stemline against which individual characters are cut. The text of these "Orthodox Ogham" inscriptions is read beginning from the bottom left-hand side of a stone, continuing upward along the edge, across the top and down the right-hand side (in the case of long inscriptions). Roughly 380 inscriptions are known in total (a number, incidentally, very close to the number of known inscriptions in the contemporary Elder Futhark), of which the highest concentration by far is found in the southwestern Irish province of Munster. One third of the total are found in Co Kerry alone.