A Viking embroidery

They say research is what you are doing when you aren’t doing anything else.

Well, last night I did some research. One of the members of my Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers recommended this link about the Høylandet tapestry, a wool embroidery measure 211 x 44 cm, on a linen and wool ground, depicting Bible scenes. It was stashed away in the church at Høylandet, in central Norway, and was rediscovered in 1859.

Apparently, these long textile friezes were quite usual as part of church decor. They hung at the top of the wall, with other textiles hanging below them. This one dates from the early 12th century. Its origins are still unclear but it might be from Nidaros in Norway.

My “research” lead me to this timeline of Viking age tapestries. I hadn’t realised there were so many. So there will be more research going on, including both reading and looking at Pinterest. There is some wonderful stuff to be investigated on this line.

I’m rather struck by the Three Kings scene on this Norwegian embroidery:

They remind me of the Byzantine mosaic in the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy. This splendid version shows them as Byzantine art usually does, in Persian clothing, including breeches, capes, and Phrygian caps.

The two versions, created so far apart are have very similar posture, and they are travelling in the same direction. Maybe they were both designed for the same side of the church? Maybe a Norwegian traveller saw the mosaics, which were created around 565?

About The Proof Angel

I am a freelance editor and proofreader, working with a wide range of clients from large companies to individuals. I can help you to communicate clearly by carrying out a final check, or by suggesting ideas get your message over. I also have a sideline in textiles, as The Rainbow Angel.
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