Six Viking Art Styles: Marks of Viking Glory

In Viking age, art was divided into six major styles marking different phases of the Viking. For different time, the Viking had different concepts of art. In this blog post, we are to discuss briefly six Viking Art Styles.

Oseberg style

Starting the phases of Viking art was the Oseberg style. This style takes its name from the Oseberg ship that is among the best preserved Viking ships on the planet.

The motif of the Oseberg style is the gripping beast. The major features are the paws that grip the borders around.

Viking Oseberg style
Viking Oseberg style on the Oseberg shi
Oseberg was one of six Viking art styles
Oseberg head post artifact from Oseberg burial mound
Carolingian animal-head post showing motif of gripping beast
Carolingian animal-head post showing motif of gripping beast

Borre style

The Borre style features geometric interlacing pattern motif. The first object that archaeologists found this style was a harness from a ship grave in Borre mound, Vestfold, Norway. This style flourished in the Viking community from late 9th to mid 10th century.

Borre Viking style was one of the six major Viking art styles dating back to the glory of the Vikings
Borre style resembling cat

Jelling style

Evolving from the Borre style was the Jelling style that flourished during the 10th century. This style was found from various objects from Jelling mound such as Harald Bluetooth’s runestone.

Jelling style on a cup dating back to the time of King Harald Bluetooth
Jelling style on a cup dating back to the time of King Harald Bluetooth

Mammen style

Viking Mammen style is probably the most famous Viking style. The awesome Mammen axe with this style was recovered from the mound at Mammen, Jutland, Denmark. Both sides of the axe had inlaid silver designs. The archaeologists believed that the creator of the axe had tried to tell a story with the Mammen axe. The Mammen axe also becomes a favorite pattern for jewelry design as well.

Drawing of Viking Mammen style
Drawing of Viking Mammen style on Mammen axe
Viking box artifact featured the Viking Mammen style
Mammen box
Viking Mammen style came from the Viking axe that was found inside the Mammen burial mound
Mammen axe on display

Ringerike style

This style took its name from the Ringerike district of Oslo, Norway. There stood a red runestone with the design of this style.

This Viking art style flourished during the time of late 10th century to the 11th century. The common animals found on this style were lions, birds, and spirals. Crosses started to appear in this style as well.

Ringerike style was among the six Viking art styles dating back to the glory of the Vikings
Viking Ringerike style appeared on the Viking weather vane

Urnes style

The last Viking art style was the Urnes style that dated back to the second half of the 11th century toward the early of 12th century marking the end of Viking age.

The name “Urnes” came from the gate design of Urnes stave church in Norway.

Compared with former styles, Urnes style had slim and stylized animals that interwoven into tight patterns. They had almond-shaped eyes and slender bodies.

Viking Urnes style
Viking Urnes style appeared on a stave church’s door

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