Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Carved Stones of Eigg - 3

Eigg's most interesting carved stone is an 8th (or 9th) century example of recycling. The cross, which was found at Kildonnan in two pieces, has been put back together with concrete. One side is carved with an elaborate ringed cross, topped with the letters 'IHU  XPI', a Latin abbreviation for Jesus Christ (Oh Jesu, of Christ). But it is the other, and older side of the stone, that is really interesting. It depicts a mounted hunter with two dogs chasing what appears to be a lion, a boar and a deer - quite an assortment of animals. The scene is carved such that the stone was intended to be oriented the long way (as shown in the second photo). Perhaps the stone was a shrine to an early ruler of Eigg, which was later reused to make an ornate cross.

Sadly, as you can see in the photos, the side with the hunting scene is severely eroded. You can see a better image of it on this RCAHMS page. You can also see it on the Eigg History Society website (they use the hunter depicted on the left side of the stone for their logo). If this stone interests you, a complete description can be found in this article in Medieval Archaeology.

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