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The beauty and symbolism of gold, from the Early Bronze Age to the 20th century


The Rillaton cup Early Bronze Age

Gold alloy | 8.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 69742

A Bronze Age gold cup, formed from a single sheet of gold and decorated with horizontal concentric corrugations, terminating at the bottom around a central boss and flattening out at the top to create a rim. There are small areas of pontillé decoration below the rim and the handle (and it is thought that there may have been further sections that have been polished off over time). The handle is made of a separate, flat piece of gold and is riveted to the body with six rivets and lozenge-shaped washers. The handle is waisted in form, narrowing slightly as it travels away from the rim of the body and it is decorated with five grooves, originally small corrugations, that run the full length of the handle.

The cup is a very rare example of early Bronze age gold and is one of only seven other Northern European examples. It is similar to another cup in the British Museum, The Ringlemere Cup; however that example has been severely crumpled during its history.

Catalogue entry from "Gold", London, 2014.