Friday, December 10, 2010

The Vikings/Viking art

The Borre Style 840-970

Danish disc brooches in the Borre style

The Borre style was popular for the best part of 150 years. It spread throughout the world include Russia. The two principal  motifs of the Borre style are the gripping beast and the ring chain, and the hallmark of the  style is the ring-chain motif. Two Danish disc brooches show the Borre style gripping beasts. The heads are at the centre, except for a smaller brooch, where they are placed below. The second main motif in Borre style is an interlace pattern, the ring-chain. A Viking cross lab from the Isle of Man, carved by a man named Gaut, shows this interlace work. The ring-chain motif was popular in Jutland and Britain, like on several Manx stones and on  a Gosforth cross in Cumbria.  
"Gaut made this and all in Man" says a runic inscription on this cross lab with interlace pattern from the Isle of Man .

The Borre style is named after some bronze-bridle mounts, found in another Norwegian ship burial at Borre in Vestfold,but those mounts do not show the originality of workmanship, and they are different from the design and quality of the earlier mounts from Broa. The Borre mounts are representative of their style, but actually imitations of finer pieces, but a unique golden spur from Værne kloster and some Danish disc brooches show the fine techniques. The golden spur is a masterpiece of filigree with the Borre style ring chain and animal heads in an unusual design, the brooches show the best on fine metalwork.

A single animal in a characteristic Borre style pose and with a mask- like head with protruding Mickey Mouse ears.

The ornaments produced by jewellers provide a main source of evidence for the history of Viking art. The development of the styles may be traced through the product of the gold and silver-smiths, who worked to order for rich patrons, or sold their work to people, who wanted to display their wealth.
The Borre style was for much of its currency contemporary with the Jellinge style, named after a find from a royal burial in Jelling (Jutland). The Jellinge style proper makes no use of the gripping beast, but prefers ribbon-shaped animals seen in profile. But the two styles are often found in the same object.   

 Source: Moesgård Archaeological Museum, Århus.

Next: The Jellinge Style