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'Crosh Bollan' or fisherman's charm

Date made: early 20th century

Maker: Kermode, Philip Moore Callow

Description: A 'Crosh Bollan' (Bollan Cross) is a charm or good luck token, traditionally carried by fishermen as protection against drowning and injury at sea.

It is actually the throat bone and part of the upper palate of a Wrass (a rock-fish). The Wrass is known as 'Bollan' in Manx Gaelic and its triangular shape was seen as representing the cross, so the bone became known as a 'Crosh Bollan' in Manx.

Fishing has always been a precarious and potentially dangerous way to earn a living, with the risks of poor catches or bad weather. As a result, fishermen throughout the British Isles have had a reputation for being deeply superstitious. Many fishing traditions concern promoting good luck and preventing bad luck. A wide variety of customs and rituals have developed to govern what may or may not be said or done onboard a fishing vessel or in port. The 'crosh bollan' illustrates the importance that Manx fishermen laid on trying to ward off bad luck, to ensure profitable catches and to protect themselves and their vessels from dangers at sea.

Measurements: overall: 3.5 x 3 cm

Materials: fish: bone

Object name: charm

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1954-1713

Subject tags : SHIC 4.151 - Agriculture, forestry and fishing, Fishing


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