THE PICTISH ANIMALS OBSERVED
Gordon, C. A., F.S.A.SGOT.
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol.98 (1964-6)
The animals to be examined are those depicted in the few free standing animal portraits, contained in Class I of Romilly Alien’s Early Christian Monuments of Scotland with another, executed at a much earlier date,the deer engraved on a rock in Glen Domhain, Argyll. The Pictish design commonly called ‘The Elephant’ will also be considered.
ROE DEER The Glen Domhain roe deer is immediately recognisable for what it is from the outline of the body and antlers (PL XXVIII, i). The foreface, however, is drawn nearly twice as long as it is in nature. This is a characteristic already seen in much more ancient representations of deer and is to be met with later among the Pictish designs. All the published drawings show the Glen Domhain animal with a tail, a member which roe bucks do not possess,but which had been clumsily retouched when the stone was seen in 1954. In any case it occurs at a point in the anatomy where no animal ever had a tail. The published drawing also shows a tine sticking out from the forehead, which is perhaps an original fissure in the stone,or, like the alleged tail,a deliberate ‘improvement’ in later times.