Table of contents:
- A bracelet
- Viking art was used in everyday life
- The most commonly used materials are wood, metals and stone
- Textile art
- Sculptures and stone engravings
- Wood and Bronze, or How Viking Art Began
- Geometry in Viking Art
- And then there was silver
- Animals in Viking culture
- Runes are also art
- Interior decor
There is a stereotype that the Vikings' way of life consisted only of epic battles and cruel raids on neighbors, but they were supposedly far from subtle matters. But in reality, this is not at all the case. Art among the Vikings was very developed, accompanied brave warriors throughout their lives and was valued at a very high level.
A braceletThe most anticipated day for any Nordic child is a dinner at which he was called a warrior. That night, his parents put on their best clothes and went with the child to the ceremony, during which the jarl gave the child permission to become a warrior, farmer and builder, as well as a carpenter and traveler. All members of the community gathered at such ceremonies, on the occasion of rolling a real feast with dancing.
The Jarl presented children entering adulthood with a snake-shaped bracelet with two wolf heads. After that, they were given a goblet or horn with an alcoholic drink, and the jarl spoke a few words about the new warrior, highlighting his skills, which he had already demonstrated as a child, and how his family benefited the community. Most of the children attended this ceremony between the ages of 10 and 13, but were already fully aware of what their functions would be in the future.
The bracelet handed over was the personification of the legend of Skoll and Hati (translated from Old Norse, "traitor" and "hater"); two wolves who chased the sun and moon every day to devour them. Mortals feared that if this happened, the world would forever plunge into darkness. Therefore, to honor them, the Vikings wore the aforementioned bracelets with the emblems of both wolves. After the jarl put on a bracelet on the child's hand, his wife of the ruler approached the newly made young warrior and kissed him on the lips. After that, the children were ready to become "real" Vikings.
This type of bracelet was in great demand among the Scandinavian peoples. They were carved by hand, and such work took up to several days, so they were considered objects of great value. In fact, each of these bracelets is considered a real piece of art.
Viking art was used in everyday lifeThe Vikings did not have a profession dedicated to art as such. They made vessels, bracelets and other items typical of everyday life. Boats, jewelry, ornaments and even home decorations were all unique and inimitable. There were no two children who would wear absolutely identical bracelets, there were no two houses in which there would be identical vases. Looms, swords and even shields have always had their own unique designs.
The most commonly used materials are wood, metals and stone
Since Scandinavia had huge forests, local carpenters could use different types of wood, and they used it to make furniture, boats and, of course, houses. All of their products were important from the point of view of art, since every ship, every house was decorated with unique carvings, which were made by craftsmen using chisels. Similarly, the wood from which the shields were made was painted in different colors.
Women who did not fight on an equal footing with men lived at home making clothes and blankets for their husbands who went off to battle. They usually sewed clothes for the humid climates that they constantly encountered. For this, most often women used looms, from the simplest to the truly complex.
Sculptures and stone engravings
Although most of the Viking prints have been found on huge rocks, cave paintings have also survived on relatively small rocks. Most of them were used to honor the dead (i.e., as tombstones), and by literally looking at the tombstone, one could tell what the deceased was doing during his lifetime.
If the stone was painted in various colors and decorated with many symbols, then this was a person who, during his lifetime, was a powerful warrior or a fighter of great value. On the other hand, stones that had multiple symbols and were mostly painted the same color belonged to men or women who did little for their community.
Wood and Bronze, or How Viking Art Began
It is called the Oseberg style (Broa-Oseberg) and comes from the name of the city where the woman's tomb was discovered. Various works of art made of bronze were found in the tomb, among which, like on Viking ships, figures of animals and people predominated. Subsequently, in similar tombs, heads of animals carved from bronze and wood were repeatedly found. It was during this period that most of the bracelets intended for children were mainly created.
Geometry in Viking Art
The second stage of Scandinavian art is called Borre because of the funerary ship that was found in the city of the same name. This style is very easy to identify, but it is one of the most difficult, as it is characterized by the fact that the Borra used mainly braided or chain ornaments. During this period, metal was used as the main material, with which the Vikings created knots to strengthen certain structures. Likewise, they used such braided chains to create ornaments and home decoration.
And then there was silver
This is the so-called Elling style. At this stage, jewelry in the form of a dragon or a snake was often made of silver. The first find of this kind was found in Denmark. Some managed to make the heads of animals with open mouths, which was a sign of ferocity. They were usually used only by the strongest or fiercest warriors. Sometimes a similar style was used to decorate houses or very small jewelry.
Animals in Viking culture
During the time of the Mammen style, animal forms began to acquire much more expressiveness and meaning. The materials used at this time were very diverse, so the Vikings created figurines not only from fabric, leather, stone and metal, but also created real works of art from many other materials. Each time these figures became more realistic and looked better. Moreover, these were mostly animals, and the figures of people were incomparably smaller.
Runes are also art
In the Viking Age, there were people who were engaged in reading the future from runes, which are stones with symbols carved on them. In the late 10th and early 11th centuries, the Ringerike style developed. Much of the art belonging to this style is characterized by the manufacture of ornaments for clothing and body-worn ornaments. Quite often, animal parts (fangs, horns, etc.) were used to create bizarre geometric shapes.
Interior decorIt is called the Urnes style and is characterized by carvings of doors and windows, which depicted animals as very graceful and stylized figures. Most of them were carved on the doors to prevent evil spirits from entering the house. Also, this carving showed who lived in a given house: a warrior, a fisherman, etc.
Although the Vikings did not have a precise definition of art, they used some methods in their daily lives that were applied by several other cultures. From the processing of materials such as silver, bronze and iron, to the processing of stones, plants and fabrics … the Vikings were fascinated by the creation of figures in unique shapes and styles that were rarely found elsewhere.
And in continuation of the theme, the story of 10 Viking inventions that tell a lot about their life and history