Viking Buddha Statue: Traces of International Route


In 2015,the Sweden Post released a stamp with the depiction of Buddha in green color in their series to honor the Vikings. It sounds somewhat weird to many people.Because many of us cannot find out the reason how come the relation of Viking Buddha Statue.

The Swedish stamp featuring the Viking Buddha statue found in Helgo Viking hectic trading center
The Swedish stamp featuring the Buddha statue found in Helgo – hectic Viking trading center

Helgo Buddha Statue

The small depiction on the stamp by Sweden Post rooted its story in the archaeological finding of Buddha Statue in 1954. Indeed, more than 60 years ago, in Helgo a major Viking archaeological land, the archaeologists happened to dig out the remains dating back from the Viking Era. The most outstanding from the finds was the Buddha Statue. One cool thing is that Helgo used to be a hectic trading town. This was somewhat persuasive enough for us to think that the Buddha statue travelled a long route to reach Helgo. The statue is now on display in Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

Viking Helgo Buddha statue that found belonging to the Vikings as the latest owner of the statue

What made the Buddha statue stand out from other items were the great features of it. The face of the statue was subtly depicted with lines and edges. The golden caste mark rested perfectly in the forehead. The ears of the statue had very long lobes. The hair was turned into the shape of semi-globe on the top of the head. The coat covered the whole body and there was only one hole at the neck. Buddha was sitting on the lotus and offering His hand to help as the common symbol of the religion. When the archaeologists unearthed the statue,around the neck of Buddha was a leather strap at the neck and the wrist.

They believed that the latest owner (Vikings) must have wanted to protect the statue so much that they placed the leather strap there. The owner of it might have regarded the statue as the talisman or the amulet for themselves. Some historians believed that for the statue to reach the Viking land, it took up to 100 years. Because it might have been carried over thousand miles of distance, up and down the rivers and enormous land of Eurasia prior to its final resting destination in Scandinavia.

Other foreign treasures in Helgo

There were also other items in the land of Helgo, for example, an Irish crozier and the Egyptian Coptic scoop. Three items are now on display in the Swedish Museum History.

The foreign treasures found in Helgo Viking trading center
Viking foreign treasures in Helgo Viking trading center

The famous Oseberg Buddha

The famous Oseberg burial mound also consisted of the bucket with the small statue of Buddha meditating. This Viking Buddha statue suggested that the women buried inside the Oseberg burial mound was of the elite group in the Viking age. But with a careful consideration, we can see how far the Viking international route reached the border of other regions. Moreover, we can also see that the Vikings accepted the other regions to get into their society.

The Viking buddha statue found in Oseberg burial mound
The meditating Buddha in the bucket found in the Oseberg artifacts

This is a positive sign. Because it showed the Vikings were always willing to learn from other people regardless of their religions. This was one of the way that the Vikings worshipped Odin. Because in Norse mythology, Odin welcomed the wisdom from everyone and everywhere.

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