Chip-Carving

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A technique of decoration with the use of an ax, hatchet, mallet, and/or chisel, which probably originated in the Roman and Celtic world. The technique was adapted by Germanic wood-carvers to make animal ornaments and by metalsmiths of the Migration Period. This excised decoration was done by cutting from the surface triangular and rectilinear small chips. The end result was a pattern of combined V-shaped incisions, with a glittering faceted appearance. It is found in woodwork and pottery, when it has to be done before the clay is fired. False relief is a special version of this technique. Examples are the Tassilo Chalice (Kremsmünster Abbey, Austria) and the Lindau Gospels book cover (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City).

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