Presentation of the different Viking arts

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Viking arts

Although the Vikings of old were overwhelmingly powerful warriors, history indicates that the Norse people had a rich artistic tradition that few could rival. Yes, you understood well. The era of these ruthless warriors and bloodthirsty sailors only interested in plunder and conquest is also associated with an art. Here is an overview of the different Viking arts.

Viking art: what is it?

If they are feared for their bravery, their power and their accomplishments, it should not be forgotten that the Vikings are in reality ordinary farmers. Like any other group, they love beauty and aesthetics in their own way. Obviously, Viking art has nothing to do with the beautiful paintings, paintings of landscapes hanging in museums. It was functional and symbolic rather than contemplative and expressive.

viking carving


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Viking art: sculpture

Because the Vikings were very mobile, Viking art, also known as Norse art, is mostly made up of animal carvings, fine metalwork, and wearable works depicting objects used in everyday life.

Their creativity and skill is best expressed through sculpture, especially working in metals, wood and stone, ivory, etc., because these types of materials were both the most accessible to their time and the most resistant to time and bad weather. Thus, Viking art has long been realized on jewelry and weapons. Thus, the excavations have for example made it possible to find works resulting from the work of craftsmanship such as:

  • Drinking horns with beautiful decorations;
  • Ships built of wood;
  • Weapons ;
  • Pagan icons;
  • Towering beasts;
  • Paddles;

There is also a form of art known as narrative art. The sculpture of a man struggling in a nest of snakes is an example. Clearly, with their imagination and singular creativity , the Vikings never stopped embellishing and improving their objects and transcribing their history into materials. Many of their creations are exhibited today in museums.

Viking art: textiles and tattoos

Apart from hard materials such as wood, stone and metal, Viking art was also expressed on textiles (flags, tapestries, clothing, etc.) and of course the skin through symbol tattoos various. These symbols are usually the Viking emblems, intricate patterns, various animal shapes, etc.,

Unfortunately, the tattooed bodies of dead Vikings have long decayed and are therefore beyond recovery. The same is true for their textiles which could not be recovered. However, there is evidence that they used textiles and tattoos to express their art.

These include the writings of third parties recounting their encounters with Norse people, such as the famous traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan who said of the Volga Vikings that they had tattooed patterns on the tips of their toes during.

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Viking art: poetry and stories

Viking arts are not limited to visual art. The Nordic civilization is rich in another form of art used above all to celebrate the exploits, ingenuity and values ​​of the Viking people. These include poems, Norse epic sagas, nursery rhymes, poetry, stories, riddles, etc.

Obviously, the styles vary from one period to another and especially according to the impacts of the outside world such as religion, the culture of the peoples encountered during migrations, etc.

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