Figure in the form of a wild boar

Delicate, naturalistic representation of a boar in the form of a protective amulet. It has a very prominent mane of bristles with four holes, perhaps so that bronze rings could be attached. The amulet could be worn around the neck or as a pendant hanging from the tail which curls round to make a loop.

The wild boar is a mythic and symbolic animal in the Celtic world. The boar totem often appears accompanying gods, or in stories of Celtic heroes and warriors. This animal totem symbolizes courage, strength to overcome all obstacles and it also has the magic power of foresight. Celtic warriors listened to the premonitions of the animal if it appeared to them in dreams. It is also a symbol of male potency.

Many vestiges and archaeological remains of wild boars have been found, all of which denote their importance for the Celts.

If the animal was a female, this indicated sensuality. The mascot of the Druid enchantress, Ceridwen, was a female boar. Arduinna, another Celtic goddess, is also depicted accompanied by a boar. She was a huntress who was greatly adored in Celtic Europe. Later, with the Roman conquest, Arduinna was syncretized with the goddess Diana. It was also believed that the power of the wild boar came from its bristles: it was enough to possess a bristle to obtain its properties.

Representations of the wild boar adorn the helmets, shields and signs of Celtic warriors. The bell piece of their war trumpet, the carnyx, was generally in the form of a boar’s head. From the Bronze Age on, the tusks of this animal are to be found in the tombs of some important figures. Already in the 4th century BCE, the wild boar, together with the horse, was one of the main themes seen in zoomorphic fibulas. The boar can also be found on Celtic coins from the British Isles to the Carpathian Mountains. Statuettes of the wild boar are known across the Celtic world. It is the only wild quadruped so frequently represented.

It would seem that the Celts bred a race of ill-tempered boars with long legs and a thick coat, some of which, due to their truculence, were deliberately used as “guard dogs”. Most probably, the two species (or races) were known and there is no doubt that the pig, the boar and/or other Suiform were symbols of warrior strength, although not of the class or warrior elite itself. Moreover, apart from their symbolic character, wild boars possessed also a beneficial dimension in Celtic tradition.

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