Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More on the Leire Figure

A little while ago, I mentioned a post from Aardvarchaeology about a figurine excavated at Leire in Denmark, whose gender has been debated. The post was interesting to me because the figure, assuming it is female, sheds interesting light on the subject of whether Viking women wore "aprons" as well as apron dresses, and on how those aprons may have been shaped.

A few days ago, Martin Rundkvist posted about the Leire figurine again on Aardvarchaeology. Apparently the excavator of the Leire figurine has published a paper discussing the figurine, and explaining why he believes that the figure depicted is male, and Rundkvist wanted to respond to those arguments.

Frankly, I agree with Martin Rundkvist that the figure is most likely female, but find the arguments in favor of a male identity for the figurine to be interesting, even if they are misplaced. The relevant Aardvarchaeology post summarizes them better than I could, so I will merely provide a link to it here. N.B. The Aardvarchaeology post also provides a link where interested readers can download a copy of the Leire excavator's paper here.


  1. In the article by Christensen, he mentions a figurine of Freya from Stavnsager, and has a rather little photo.

    There is a bigger one here:
    From: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/Archaeology/Research/projects/current/stavnsager.aspx

    Thought you might like to see, since it's not a photo that usually shows up when people are discussing female dress.

  2. Thanks for the link to the photo of the Freya plaque. I had never seen it, and it is interesting.

    Unfortunately, it reminds me of why I often wish the Vikings had been more interested in representational art. That long, tongue-shaped thing that hangs down the front of her body--is that meant to be a string of beads or what? Surely it can't be meant to represent anything a woman of the period *really* wore, can it?

  3. One of pearl's contacts, here.

    ...is that meant to be a string of beads or what?

    I wondered the same thing a couple days ago, myself. Someone suggested that it might be Brisingamen. I'm not sure one way or the other.

  4. I recognize your name, ragnvaeig; I've looked at your LJ from time to time. Welcome!

    Anyway, I had the impression for some reason that Brisingamen was a gold neckring (i.e., a torc), not a strand of beads. On the other hand, I haven't really researched this issue, so it's possible I got the idea of a neckring from historical fiction.