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Yes, it is a horse skull. Yes, it is 23K gold leaf.

First of all, the skull was supplied to me by a vet assistant. It is the skull of a young, Standardbred horse which died of natural causes. It has been professionally cleaned and has all the teeth appropriate to a horse between 2-4 years of age. It is approximately 22 inches long.

The Celtic design is adapted from the Witham Shield, and is painted in heavy gel, creating a raised design under the gold leaf. The glorious swirls of spiraled art cover the entire top of the skull, and one side of the jaw. The other side of the jaw has been left plain to show the texture and shape of the bone which is visible under the leaf. Gold leaf was applied over the skull and design, then burnished with horsehair. I then used a crackle glaze to age the surface before adding a heavy coat of varnish.

The gold leaf has an amazing glow that cannot be replicated with any lesser material, and covers the outside surface of the skull and jaw.

It is a tribute to the place of the horse in Celtic mythology and culture, specifically a tribute to Liath Macha, the King of Horses.

The chariot horses of the Celtic hero Cu Chulainn are named Dub Sainglend and Liath Macha (the Black of Sangliu and the Grey of Macha).

Cu Chulainn's enemy has obtained three spears to use to kill him. They are all destined to kill a king. The first misses Cu Chulainn and strikes his charioteer, Laeg. The second strikes Liath Macha. Furious, his enemy turns on the provider of the spears, as they have not struck Cu Chulainn. He is told that the first spear killed the King of Charioteers while the second killed the King of Horses.

When Cu Chulainn is struck by the third spear, and falls from the chariot, Dub Sainglend continues to run, but a wounded Liath Macha returns to protect the fallen hero, slaying fifty with his teeth and thirty with each hoof. After Cu Chulainn dies, Liath Macha brings the warrior Conall Cernach to the fallen body, and aids him in avenging Cu Chulainn's death.

This listing is for the two halves of the horse skull, both the upper and lower parts. They are not attached to each other. The upper half has a leather hanger tied on in the back, allowing the upper half to hang as a piece of wall art. Leather laces are tied to black metal rings that function as a quiet wind chime. The hanger and chimes are easily removed, and are not affixed to the skull other than being tied.

The skull is varnished but unlikely to survive well in wet weather. It is very difficult to adequately cover the complex surface of a skull in such a way as to totally prevent dampness to enter in. It is suggested that this piece be kept inside or covered in very humid and damp weather.

Artifact: Celtic Golden Horse Skull


  • Handmade item
  • Materials: 23K gold leaf, horse skull, leather
  • Feedback: 2 reviews
  • Ships from Maryland, United States to select countries.