Hanap and a Saxon pendant.

A hanap is a shallow silver cup, used throughout the medieval era for drinking. To modern eyes it looks somewhat like a saucer. They range from very fancy to quite plain.

image This one was sold at auction, I’m not trying to make anything as fancy.


They range between 15 and 20cm diameter and between 3and 5 cm deep. The profiles also vary, from straight and flat like the one in the left of the picture, to exaggeratedly curvy.

ive been trying to make one but I’m finding it quite challenging. It’s very different to the rounded shape of a simple chalice. I started with a flat disc of silver 15cm diameter – the size chosen purely because I had a piece that shape and it saved cutting into one of the bigger sheets in my stash.


I began by marking a circle in the centre and sinking the area within. Sinking is when you use a round ended hammer to strike against a flat metal surface, stretching the metal with each blow. As you can see this has domed the centre.


Next I decided to planish the domed area. Planishing is normally done at the end to polish the silver and removed hammer marks, but it also shapes. In this case I decided to planish partly to refine this domed shape, and partly because I thought the area might be difficult to access later.


Next I marked a thin ring around the dome. This area is to be the foot of the hanap and won’t be hammered, this means the metal won’t be stretched and will add wieght and shape to the base.

i then began to raise the metal in the opposite direction to the central dome, bending it back on itself. Raising is where you hold the silver against a metal stake (a cows tongue in this case) and strike the silver against air so it bends towards the stake.imageimage

Raising began to change the profile, but it still lacked depth, so I did several rounds more


This has given my minimum required depth ( this is around 3.4cm) but the sides are now too straight.


So I did a round of countersinking on the sides ( sinking from the opposite side so it bows in the other direction to the original round)


I thought at first that the central dome was too deep, but it actually sits very pleasantly in my hand. I think these hanap with thier shallow bowls must have been a way to show off your refined table manners as it would have taken considerable grace to drink without slopping ( I’d have been completely screwed).

at the moment I’m unsure what to do next. I could go back to another round of raising for a few mm more depth, or I could planish and see what happens to the shape. I’m leaning towards planishing because my gut says it’s almost there and stop mucking with it. I’m going to leave it on the kitchen work top for at least a week, so I can pick it up every day and think. ( this has been on the go since before Christmas because of thinking time)

because this is slow work and I need frequent rests between bouts of hammering, I worked on another project yesterday as well. At torm su Poole ofTillerman beads gave me a shepherds crown, a replica Anglo Saxon gaming piece which she thought might also have been mounted as a jewel.

its about an inch diameter, so it’s too big for any of the fancy Saxon pendants, which tend to have very small stones in the centre. But I did find one example of a large stone in a simple setting with not only a twisted wire edge, but a beaded one as well. I liked the subtle contrast so I went for that, and also experimented with a toothed bezel, which I haven’t really done before. I think the toothed bezel sits better with the larger stone.


Shown with some of su and mikes beads.

now all I have to do is not lose it before the imc. I’m tempted to post it back to su because I know what I’m like for losing little things.


~ by opusanglicanum on April 2, 2016.

9 Responses to “Hanap and a Saxon pendant.”

  1. The shepherd’s crown is very handsome in the mount. The twisted markings work so well with the edging. Good luck with the hanap, I am sure it will tell you what it wants done to it in a little while.

  2. People don’t always realise how important thinking time is – or how impossible it is to rush it!

    The shepherd’s crown looks very fine.

  3. I like your projet, good work!!!

  4. You never cease to amaze me.

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