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A Matter of Standards: Iconography as a Quality Indicator for Viking Age Brooches
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte.
2009 (English)In: Lund Archaeological Review, ISSN 1401-2189, Vol. 15, 127-148 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In the oral culture of the mid Viking Age, it would have been utterly wasteful not to make use of the iconographic potential of pictures. Therefore, one should be allowed to propose that animal art on costly objects had a deeper meaning. Yet, how does one single out these high-quality objects? With help of two “baroque shaped” brooches from the Swedish Jämjö hoard, I intend to problematize archaeology’s concept of quality. In connection with this, the “iconographic relevance” of an object will be introduced into quality analysis. Having argued that an aristocrat had commissioned a Gotlandic craftsperson to produce the younger Jämjö brooch, the focus of this paper shifts to the meaning of animal art. In accordance with an evergreen hypothesis, animal art and skaldic art are but two expressions of the same deep structure underlying Old Norse culture. Furthermore, the Jämjö brooch shows five analogies to a typical Skaldic poem. For this reason, I will make a rather speculative attempt to interpret the puzzle pictures of Jämjö by using skaldic metaphors for the god Óðinn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Institute of Archaeology, University of Lund , 2009. Vol. 15, 127-148 p.
Keyword [en]
Puzzle pictures, Archaeology, Dress adornment, Ekphrasis, Scaldic Poetry, Metal Casting, Norse religion, Viking, Methodology, Cult, Animal Art, Animal Style, Iconography
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-180510OAI: diva2:550662
Available from: 2012-09-11 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2012-09-11Bibliographically approved

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Neiß (Neiss), Michael

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