Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Six Styles of Viking Art

Vikings decorated their objects with patterns and motifs. Researchers have identified six different styles that formed the fashion in the Viking Age.

In this photo gallery, you can see pictures and brief descriptions of the six styles in Viking design that archaeologists have identified.

[1] The Oseberg style is the earliest known Viking style, named after the Oseberg ship, which was found near Oslo in 1903. The motifs include animals, and in some cases human-like figures. The style is characterised by gripping beasts ? the hands and feet are entangled in a web-like pattern.

[2]The Borre style is named after artefacts found in a boat grave near the Norwegian village of Borre. This style is characterised by small, cat-like animal heads. The frame around the animals consists of an interlacing pattern tied together with double contour lines.

[3] The Jelling style is named after a silver cup found in a tomb in Jelling, Denmark, in 1820. This style is characterised by stylised and band-shaped animal bodies.

[4] The Mammen style takes its name from a silver-engraved axe found in a chamber tomb in Mammen, Denmark, in 1868. The large, four-legged animal on the axe is the same animal that adorns the large Jelling stone. While similar in appearance to Jelling-style animals, Mammen style animals have a broader body.

[5] The Ringerike style evolved out of the early Mammen style and is named after a group of runestones found in the Ringerike district north of Oslo, Norway. The most common motifs are lions, birds, bandshaped animals and spirals.

[6] The Urnes style takes its name from the Urnes stave church in Norway. The animal has a slimmer body and the eyes are narrower than in other Viking styles.

View the samples of each style here:



Abidlund, Andreas.2014. “Six Styles of Viking Art”. Science Nordic. Posted: April 30, 2014. Available online:

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