PICTISH STONES OF SCOTLAND
If you visit Scotland, you need to see The Pictish Stones. These are located mostly in the central belt in the Clyde and Forth areas of Scotland and on the Eastern side of the country.
What is a Pictish Stone?
The Pictish stone is a type of monumental stele which is carved or incised with symbols, designs or inscriptions. Pictish Stones date between the 6th and 9th centuries during the time when The Picts were becoming Christians. The earlier Pictish stones are unique to Scotland but the later ones such as the High crosses are variations of a wider tradition of monumental stones across the U.K.
In the book “The Early Christian Monuments in Scotland by Allen and Anderson (1903), Pictish stones were divided into three categories:
CLASS 1 – Unworked Pictish stones with symbols which had only been incised with no cross on either side dating back to the 6th century before the spread of Christianity.
CLASS 2 – Pictish stones of rectangular shape with a large cross or symbol on both sides. The symbols are carved in relief and the cross with its surroundings is filled with designs. These stones date from the 8th and 9th centuries.
CLASS 3 – These Stones feature no Pictish symbols and can be cross-slabs, grave markers, free-standing crosses and shrines. These originate from the 8th and 9th centuries.
CLASS 1 and 2 Pictish stones contain symbols which are unique to Pictish art and are known as the Pictish symbols. There are between 30 to 60 different type of symbols including the geometric ‘crescent’, ‘V rod’, ‘double disc’, ‘Z rod’, ‘mirror and comb’ and the ‘triple disc’. Animals, such as the adder, salmon, wolf, stag, eagle, and the mythical Pictish Beast are also symbols used on the stones.
The Pictish symbols are usually arranged as pairs and it is thought that they may represent names, lineage or kindred such as two parents or clans.