The plates on the outside show four male and three female busts. Though many scholars since Müller believe that there are at least two artists involved in the manufacture of the cauldron, the outer plates share some basic characteristics. Most of all, as Sandars points out, all the gods are represented in a static posture and the scenes show almost symmetrical arrangements of the figures. Other common features of the gods include the stylized or patternized hair with the top of the head left bald, no ears, small mouths, T-shaped line of eye brows and nose, and the insetting of eyes with glass.
The basic iconographic concept of the outer plates - arrangement of human busts around the cauldron - has been often compared with that of Rynkeby cauldron and Bavai calendar vase from Belgium though the letter is assumed to post-date the cauldron; it is assumed to be of the early Roman period. Recently, Bergquist and Taylor suggest that the arrangement of the human bust may indicate southeastern origin because faces are arranged around bowls in Southeast Europe too. They also notes that human busts are often observed in the later Thracian style metal works.
On plate (a), a bearded
god holds a small man in each hand over his shoulders. He is in so-called "orans
position"with his arms raised. Like another male god on plate
(d), he doesn’t wear a torque; instead he has long whisker-like strings.
Each of the two men seems to hold a boar with one of their arms. However, from
a closer view, one can recognize that each one reaches his hand upward to a
boar and just touches it. The one on the right has a dog below him while below
that on the left is a horse with wings, a so called "Pegasus." As shown in the
inner plates, the identifications of the scenes on outer plates have not been
very successful either. Olmsted, who reads the whole scene on the cauldron as
a manifestation of the Irish tale, Táin, identifies the central
god with Gaulish equivalent of Cú Rói who judges between the heroes
in the Irish myth. Here, according to his interpretation, the Gualish Cú
Rói judges the champions competing for the boar.
(Rynkeby Cauldron) (Bavai Vase)
Go to the Main
Page, Plate (A), (B), (C),
(D), (E), (a),
(b), (c), (d),
(e), (f), (g),