Oseberg Tapestry: Puzzles Left Unsolved

Fragments of Oseberg tapestry
Fragments of the tapestry

In the Viking archaeological discoveries, the Oseberg ship must be the most famous excavation for not only the huge Viking ship but also the remains inside the burial. The Oseberg tapestry inside the burial is one of the puzzles that by far the historians could not reach their final agreement. So what is on the Oseberg tapestry?

When the archaeologists made their way to the tapestry, it was fragmentary. It was in a very bad condition. This meant the researchers had to spend years recovering the whole tapestry. Of course, they could. But what they need was a large amount of time.

With the ship found inside the grave burial, it revealed how wealthy the deceased inside was. The fabric of Oseberg tapestry was also of the premium quality.

Viking Oseberg tapestry on the left
Viking Oseberg tapestry on the left
Right part of the Oseberg tapestry
Right part of the Oseberg tapestry

The tapestry consisted of two parts: the left and the right side. The scene it depicted was probably a scene of religious ceremony. But what interested the scholars the most was the depiction of a man with a horned helmet.

The man was larger than anyone in the tapestry. He was in the leading position with his hand holding a sword upside down. A sword in the Viking community was not a common weapon. It only belonged to those who were wealthy or held a high social rank. The size of the man also made us to think about.

The most tricky puzzle was the horned helmet. In the Viking history, there was no record of real horned helmet. Historians even debunk the theory of Viking horned helmet which proved to be helpless in Viking combat. The concept of Viking helmet with horn only appeared in the 19h century in “Der Ring des Nibelungen” by Richard Wagner.

The Oseberg tapestry made the historians wonder about the existence of helmet with horn in the Viking Age. Some theories accordingly appeared. What if the Viking wore the horned helmet for their special religious events only?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *