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15 January 2013 @ 10:28 pm
Valkyrie figurine  


Valkyrie Figurine From Hårby

Posted by Martin R on January 7, 2013

Armed female figurine from Hårby on Funen. Photo Jan Hein.
Armed female figurine from Hårby on Funen. Photo Jan Hein.

Etymologically speaking, ”valkyrie” means ”chooser of the slain”.
The job of these supernatural shield maidens in Norse mythology is to
select who dies on the battlefield and guide their souls to Odin’s
manor, where they will spend the afterlife training for the Twilight of
the Gods, the final battle against the forces of chaos. After each day’s
combat training, a mead-hall party with drink and reincarnated pork
ensues, with the valkyries waiting the tables.

We have had very few period depictions of armed women. Instead
scholars have applied the term “valkyrie” to a common Late Iron Age
motif of a usually unarmed woman who offers up a mead cup or horn,
sometimes standing alone, sometimes to an armed man, who is often on
horseback. A more cautious term for this motif is “the greeting scene”,
and there is reason to link it to beliefs about what would happen to men
in the afterlife (cf. houris). But there are armed women embroidered on
the tapestries from the AD 834 Oseberg ship burial, and a small group
of brooches shows them in 2D relief (pictures below). Thanks to Danish
amateur metal detectorists, that group is growing steadily. And now a 3D
version of the motif has surfaced!

Detectorist Morten Skovsby found the first 3D valkyrie figurine late
last year at Hårby on Funen. She wears a floor-length dress and has her
hair in the typical knot we’ve seen for instance on the Lady of Sättuna in Kaga,
and she’s armed with sword and shield. The interlace decoration on the
rear of her dress should permit pretty tight dating once specialists get
to see it clearly, but she’s definitely from the Vendel or Viking
Periods, and I’d say probably from the 8th/9th/10th century.

See also the Lejre Lady.
Thanks to Jakob Øhlenschlæger for the tip-off, to Jan Hein and Henrik
Brinch Christiansen for the photographs and to Claus Feveile for
additional information.

A man on a horse is greeted by a woman with a shield and a drinking horn. Brooch, Tissø, Zealand. Finder Flemming Nielsen.

depicting an armed woman. Gammel Hviding, Jutland. Finder Jens Chr.
Lau. Photo Henrik Brinch Christiansen. Drawing Claus Feveile.

Current Mood: geekygeeky
Ulfhildr: squeeyuri_shoujo on January 16th, 2013 05:10 am (UTC)
Looks like she's wearing a caftan (: Really want to see bigger/more detailed pictures of this figure. Me and Eyja were geeking hard about it on facebook.
jtdiii: Biojtdiii on January 16th, 2013 07:24 am (UTC)
Ohhhhhhh bitey goodness
zandoriazandoria on January 20th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Wait! Did you say interlace decoration on her dress? More information, if you have it please? (trying hard not to get too excited).
eithni: excellenteithni on January 25th, 2013 08:50 am (UTC)
Sorry, there is really very little out there. I did find bigger pictures:

It does look like interlace on the back panel, but we'll be able to see more once it has been properly cleaned.