Hollow shells

As Mr. Deasy counts out Stephen's wages in Nestor, "Stephen's embarrassed hand moved over the shells heaped in the cold stone mortar: whelks and money cowries and leopard shells: and this, whorled as an emir's turban, and this, the scallop of saint James. An old pilgrim's hoard, dead treasure, hollow shells." These are common shells that could be collected while walking on many different beaches, but the scallop shell is symbolically associated with St. James the Greater, whose shrine at Compostela, Spain, has drawn religious pilgrims from the Middle Ages to the present—hence Stephen's fancy that the mortar full of shells is "An old pilgrim's hoard."

JH 2012

Knobbed whelk shells. Source: www.capturearkansas.com.

Money cowrie shells. Source: poppyswildcraft.com.

Leopard cowrie shells. Source: www.ebay.com.

A scallop shell. Source: www.mscvocations.com.