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The Guilden Morden boar is a sixth- or seventh-century Anglo-Saxon copper alloy figure of a boar that may have once served as the crest of a helmet. It was found around 1864 or 1865 in a grave in Guilden Morden, a village in the eastern English county of Cambridgeshire. There the boar attended a skeleton with other objects, including a small earthenware bead with an incised pattern, although the boar is all that now remains. Herbert George Fordham, whose father originally discovered the boar, donated it to the British Museum in 1904; as of 2018 it was on view in room 41.The boar is simply designed, distinguished primarily by a prominent mane; eyes, eyebrows, nostrils and tusks are only faintly present. A pin and socket design formed by the front and hind legs suggests that the boar was mounted on another object, such as a helmet. Such is the case on one of the contemporary Torslunda plates found in Sweden, where boar-crested helmets are depicted similarly.Boar-crested helmets are a staple of Anglo-Saxon imagery, evidence of a Germanic tradition in which the boar invoked the protection of deities. The Guilden Morden boar is one of three—together with the helmets from Benty Grange and Wollaston—known to have survived to the present, and it has been exhibited both domestically and internationally. The Guilden Morden boar recalls a time when such decoration may have been common; in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, where boar-adorned helmets are mentioned five times, Hrothgar speaks of when "our boar-crests had to take a battering in the line of action."
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