Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Female Viking Image

I just read a post on the blog called Aardvarchaeology about a silver Viking Age statue that was recently found in Lejre, Denmark. The statue was characterized as a statue of Odin until the blogger, Swedish archaeologist Martin Rundkvist, pointed out that the figure is dressed like a woman.

Those of my readers who know anything about female attire in Viking Age Scandinavia will agree as soon as they see the image. It's wearing what looks like four rows of beads festooned across the chest, a shawl, and what looks like a front cloth, trimmed on the three visible sides. Her hair appears to be tied up in a high bun, but without seeing the rear of the statue it's not possible to ascertain for certain whether the hair is in a bun or is tied back in a high knotted ponytail, as is seen on other Viking Age artworks depicting women.

So here is one more piece of artwork evidence of the appearance of high class female Viking attire. Like all the other artworks (a photograph of one of which is also featured in the blog post), this statue raises as many questions as it answers. But it is consistent with the other artworks, most of which show some kind of narrow decorated garment in front of the lower body. Maybe I will have to accept the "front cloth" as reality after all! Or maybe Viking women actually wore aprons, like the apron documented in the Eura, Finland woman's grave, and there's been no proof of such garments because such aprons weren't trimmed with metal in the manner that the Finns and other Baltic peoples trimmed their aprons and other clothing.

By the way, I recommend Aardvarchaeology to my readers. Mr. Rundkvist writes on a variety of subjects, most of them interesting. I would follow it more often except that he writes about politics a bit too often for my taste.


  1. Hi Cathy, that's a viking lady indeed. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You're welcome. Though Pearl posted this one on her LJ, too:

    I blogged it anyway because I wanted to capture the link since Viking women's dress is a subject I'm very interested in. :-)

  3. Thanks for the link and your kind words! You must have a rather low pain threshold for politics. (-;

  4. You're welcome, Martin.

    Yes, I do have a "low pain threshold" for politics and political debate. Ironically, my husband enjoys both; he blogs actively on political subjects.