Images of Viking Age Norsewomen

By Ásfríðr Úlfvíðardóttir/ Rebecca Lucas.
Updated September 2011.

Below is a small collection of images I have been able to put together, largely due to the kindness of people using Creative Commons licenses. The images are sorted by modern-day country, or island.

Denmark

No specific dating

Valkyries at the National Museum of DenmarkValkyries at the National Museum of Denmark
Left: A figure with knotted pigtails. Centre: Horse riders facing a figure, the left is from Tissø (Nationalmuseets Drama i Oldtiden), dated to the 10th century (Langer, 2000). Right: A 'valkyrie' from Nygård, Bornholm (Nationalmuseet Danmark).

Photographs by :bloodofox: at Wikimedia, edited for contrast by myself.
Also see: The National Museum website.

See: A 7th century valkyrie from Northern Jutland (photo before restoration here), the Stavnsager Freya figure, and these items.

England

Undated

Valkyrie with shield

Above: A silver pendant from Suffolk. For more information, see page 58 of the 2001-3 Annual Report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme

11th century


Above: Believed to be a depiction of the goddess Sigyn, on the Gosforth Cross.
Artwork by Julius Magnus Petersen, believed to be in the public domian.
See Also The previous panel on the cross, showing a women, and a Valkyrie from Norfolk.

Norway

9th century

See: The Oseberg Tapestry, and a reconstuction.

10th century and later

See: The Tu runestone from Rogaland, N 228. Stylistically dated to ca. 990-1010 AD (Rundata, 1993).

Russia

10th century

See: A 'Valkyrie' amulet from the Gnezdovo hoard. In The Way to the East [PDF].

Sweden

8th century

Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=223870 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=271215http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=22806
Above Left: Strap-fitting from Solberga, Östergötland, showing a giantess wearing a shawl. Dated to the 8th century by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by John Ljungkvist SHMM
Above Right: The centre-right silver pendent is from Sibble, Södermanland. Dated by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by Statens historiska museer SHM
See Also: Guldgubber figures found in a post-hole, dated 710-720 CE from Slöinge, Halland. Figures 6 and 27 from Hupfauf (2006).

8-9th century

Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=19753 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=108947
Above: Silver-gilt pendant from Tuna, Uppland. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by:Statens historiska museer SHM

9-10th century

Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=322786 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=456867
Above: Silver earspoon from Birka grave Bj 507. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by: Ulrik Skans SHMM

10th century and later

Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=18093 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=108864 Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=18103 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=108916
Above Left: Silver pendant from Klinta, Öland. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by: Statens historiska museer SHM
Above Right: Silver pendant from Birka grave Bj 968. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by: Statens historiska museer SHM
Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=18171 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=107873 Bilden http://www.historiska.se/data/?bild=19747 som visar objektet http://www.historiska.se/data/?foremal=108915
Above Left: Silver pendant of Freya from Aska, Östergötland. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by: Christer Åhlin SHM
Above Right: Silver pendant from Birka grave Bj 825. Dating by Holmqvist (1960).
Photo by: Statens historiska museer SHM

Sweden (Gotland)

8-9th century

Valkyrie from the Tjangvide picture stone. Picturestone from Etelhem
Left: Gotlandic picture stone from Tjängvide, dated to the 8-9th c. (Holmqvist, 1960). Photograph by “Berig” at Wikimedia.
Right: Picturestone from Etelhem, date taken from information plaque at Fornsalen Museum, Visby. Photograph by Wolfgang Sauber at Wikimedia.

No Specific Dating

Hildr on the Smiss Picture Stone, Gotland Hildr on the Stora Hammars (1) Picture Stone, Gotland Valkyrie on the Hunninge (1) Picture Stone, Gotland
Left: Hildr on the Smiss picture-stone. Centre: Hildr on the Stora Hammars I picture-stone. Right: Image from the Hunninge (I) Runestone.
Photographs by “Berig” at Wikimedia.

Bibliography


  • Holmqvist, W. 1960. “The Dancing Gods” Acta Archaeologica 31; 101-127.
  • Hupfauf, P.R.M. 2006. "Signs and Symbols Represented in Germanic, Particularly Scandinavian, Iconography Between the Migration Period and End of the Viking Age." (University of Sydney: PhD Thesis.)
    Available online.
  • Langer, J. 2010. "Símbolos religiosos dos Vikings: guia iconográfico" História, imagem e narrativas 11
    http://www.historiaimagem.com.br/edicao11outubro2010/simbolos-religiosos-vikings.pdf
  • Rundata. 1993. Samnordisk Runtextdatabus (Uppsala: Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala Univeristy.) The website to download the program is here. If the database is too difficult to navigate, the text files can be downloaded in a zip file and searched manually.
    Click on the green arrow next to "Rundata 2.5 and SRD 2008. Text files ("Mac"-version)" on the right hand side, scroll down and check the box accepting the terms and conditions. You can then download the .zip file.