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Germanic Design Styles

A Hildsvin Kit Guide

Version 1.2014

Germanic Design Styles
Introduction
The purpose of this guide is to provide some clarity surrounding the design styles used throughout the
mid to late Dark-Ages known as the Viking period. I have chosen to start from the beginning effectively,
exploring those styles present prior to our period, this is so that the reader can develop a better
understanding of how they evolved.
Germanic art was at several stages heavily influenced by Roman and Christian art, while Scandinavian
styles managed to develop almost independently until considerably later than those of Anglo-Saxon
England. The Frankish empire though Germanic in origin ends up, after the coronation of Charlemagne
in the early 770’s, abandoning many of their old stylistic traditions in favour of ones that were essentially
from the Roman tradition.
Unfortunately, in some ways, this means that design styles can contextualise an item to a time and place
however loosely. This guide aims to help with the job of selecting kit (or more precisely its decoration) so
that it fits together, this can often be challenging, as there are a great range of products available on the
market, many of which have inappropriately melded styles.
Social association, art, and religion are often closely entwined. Many styles would have been foregone by
cultures to proclaim their religious affiliation and more importantly with regards to warrior class to try
and create a separate identity to their enemy. This means that the Anglo-Saxons of C9th Wessex would
have staunchly avoided designs that were in anyway of pagan or Viking in origin, though this is not such a
clear distinction the further north you travel as the settlement of the Danes brought with it Scandinavian
styles, whether the native Northumbrians liked it or not!
In any event the wearing of a buckle with an out of period design is unlikely to attract too much attention
from even the most eagle eyed Authenticity Officer; this said, design can hugely influence the overall
appearance. A tunic dripping in Jelling Style embroidery is going to look very Viking and is not a great
choice for an Anglo-Saxon Thegn, and may even end up with the group Authenticity Officer having a
quiet word that you probably ought to ditch the Winingas, wear a Mjollnir and call yourself Sven!

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By Benjamin Hall

Germanic Design Styles

A Hildsvin Kit Guide

Version 1.2014

Early ‘Migration Period’ Anglo-Saxon art (400-600) was dominated by Roman motifs and it is with these
earlier styles we will start

450-650AD
Saxon Relief Style or Saxon Style
The Saxon Relief Style is derived from the late
Roman military designs that evolved in the
frontier region between the Germanic
kingdoms and the Roman Empire during the
C5th. The style was mainly restricted to cast
brooches and buckles, but has been seen on
other items, and was primarily achieved with
chip carved copper alloys.
It would be unwise to assume the Germans

Saxon Relief Style,
Drawing After Berhard Salin

were merely trying to copy the Romans, as the
skill of their metalworkers often exceeded their Latin neighbours and if they had wanted to
imitate Roman items, they simply would have.
The design itself is one of geometric motifs in central fields, surrounded by high relief animals in
the borders. In the Anglo-Saxon version of this style, the animals are usually on the outer
triangular ends of the buckle plate and counter plate, a design feature that continued into the
later Quoit Brooch Style (see below).
Saxon Style shares with Quoit Style certain restrictions on the use of beast heads in the designs,
and follow rather than precede complex animals, which are shown in profile with long necks and
gaping mouths. It became established in England but was replaced in the 6th century by Salins
Style 1, which had a different ideological content.

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By Benjamin Hall

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

Version 1.2014

Sősdala Style
Sősdala Style was a development of late Roman stamped decoration and is
contemporary to the Nydam Style. It utilises limited use of chip carving
and is primarily composed of a plain cast surface to which the restrained
use of punches create regular symmetrical geometric designs. The surface
treatment techniques are limited to mercury gilding; and a common
feature of Sősdala is paired drooping horse heads in profile.

Sősdala Style,
Drawing After Bernhard Salin

Nydam Style
As said before Nydam Style is contemporary to Sősdala Style from
the early C5th when it is used in south Scandinavia. It is a heavily
contoured and reflective “cast” metal style where (mainly)
geometric designs are executed in very crisp chip carving
technique with a thin flat section at the top of a cast ridge.
As well as geometric designs, zoomorphic imagery was also
employed such as: human figures, birds, animals and coiling fish
tails
However, unlike most chip carving, Nydam Style surfaces have a
thin flat plateau at the apex of the relief where a line of incised
black design (Niello) was inserted, and the sloping surfaces were

Nydam Style,
Drawing After Haseloff

occasionally gilded.

The design is limited in Anglo-Saxon contexts and was unlikely to have contributed in a direct
way to later English styles.

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By Benjamin Hall

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

Version 1.2014

Quoit Brooch Style
In the C4th German auxiliary troops stationed on the
borderlands of the Roman province of Britannia
brought with them their design styles.
In Anglo-Saxon England, a style of decorative
metalwork that takes its name from its application to
annular brooches had arisen by the mid C5th. The
design developed in south and eastern England, with
the peak concentration in Kent, based on the military
belts of the later Roman period and despite its name
was also found and other items of equipment.
Finds decorated in Quoit Brooch Style fit clearly into

Quoit Brooch Style

two main categories; disc brooches and military accoutrements: buckle plates, counter plates,
strap ends and scabbard fittings etc.
The design itself is comprised of at least three strict zones containing geometric and zoomorphic
decoration, which have never been found combined. These regions may be framed with a
boundary of decorative features such a
beading and the outer margin is enclosed by
a further edge or rim.
The geometric elements are chiefly in the
form of tendril scrolls, palmettes (stylized
palm leaves), triangles, dots, circles, ‘D’
shapes and ‘S’ scrolls; while the zoomorphic
decoration is mainly quadruped’s, marine
creatures and human faces. These are drawn
using incised lines with a punched infill and
very shallow chip carving, ornamented with
Sarre Quoit brooch

gilding, silver plating or inlay (occasionally set

with gemstones or glass); and are semi naturalistic in manner, not being rendered into
exaggerated components found in later Germanic design. The backward looking animals used in
Quoit Brooch Style relate to its late Roman origins, but also look forward to new means of

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portraying these motifs and by the end of the 5th century had been abandoned in favour of Salins
Style 1

Salin Classification Style 1 (aka “Animal Style”)
This chaotic style is the first of the Swedish archaeologist Salin’s type
categories and has been called by many other names, but the other worth
note is ‘Animal Style’ though it has also received rather more negative
names such as ‘Animal Salad’. It is a largely zoomorphic form that
developed ultimately from elements of late Roman military
accoutrements and provincial art.
Introduced to Scandinavia towards end of
C5th in western Denmark and Norway, it
probably found its way to Anglo-Saxon
England in the early C6th and due to the
strong Scandinavian links with Kent, it
became established here first. It also spread
through the Rhineland and into Central

Salins Style 1,
Drawing After Salin

Europe though it failed to thrive, probably due to its clear Heathen
associations and gave way quickly to a more rational late classical
style adopted from Byzantine art. In contrast, it flourished in
England, this may be because the Anglo-Saxons did not have a
unifying design style and their closest foreign contacts remained
Taplow Horn,
Detailing Thumbs Up Hand
Specific To AS.

Scandinavia. Despite this and notwithstanding the quality of the
workmanship, little study has been made of the style in England

because it has been seen as a second rate copy of established Roman styles. This is likely due to it
being poorly understood, something that might have been the aim of the craftsmen, limiting the
deeper meanings to those with the privilege to know the styles thematic secrets.
The design is made of distinct fields separated by heavily moulded frames and offers a visual key
to aid interpretation. Within these areas a jumble of disjointed heavily stylised shapes of animal
and human body parts (rarely whole bodies), with eye and brow motifs and hands with an
extended thumb forming a whole, laid out in deep chip carving with the geometric designs
relegated to the edge of the field.
The zoomorphic designs are that of animals with rounded snouts, pellet and bar nostrils,
elliptical eyes and ovoid feet with collars (transverse bars forming a cuff). The pear shaped thigh
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element was abandoned in Scandinavia, but persisted in other Germanic cultures such as the
Longabard’s of northern Italy.
Other significant features included downward hanging animal heads in profile with open mouths
and animals in the margins of the main fields. One characteristic Style 1 design, is that of the
Tier-Mensch (‘animal man’), where human heads were combined with the bodies of beasts. In
the Anglo-Saxon form, it was common to have serial features that appear identical until
inspected closely, this was very likely deliberate, as the skill was there to reproduce a design in
series if necessary.
Interlace is used, but is asymmetric and irregular, usually made up of three bands where parallel
strands give the design more reflective surfaces, and this three thread interlace continue into
Style 2, ultimately leading to the classical Viking forms.
Style 1 was the domain of the social elite, and though
the decoration of weapons is rare, the apex discs of a
few shields are the main English exception. The style
lasted until its fall from favour around the time of the
conversion to Christianity when the transition to Style 2
occurred. However, the long-term use of Style 1 in the
decoration of the face of cast saucer brooches implies
animal imagery had genuine appeal in Dark-Age
Europe.

Taplow Horn
Decoration Detail, Style 1

Polychrome Style
This style tends to blend with other styles (namely Style
2) but is included here on its own as it produces such
distinctive objects. It reflects a taste that developed in
Germanic culture (starting with the Goths in the
C2ndAD) for, in short, bling. Bling made from the
highest quality elements and most complicated metal
craft available. The style understandably became part of
Frankish expression of power along with horse burials
and chamber graves. Geometric devices make up the
Kingston Brooch, Kent, Polychrome Style

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By Benjamin Hall
Sarre Brooch, Kent, Polychrome Style

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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mainstay of the design-style, which is characterised by
flat surfaces with granulation and filigree metalwork
cells, within which are contained large cabochon gems,
cloisonné, deep blue, dark green and matt white
coloured glass. The most exquisite pieces employed red
garnet; however, around the late C6th to early C7th the
supply of garnets was interrupted so coloured paste had
to be employed as substitute.

Salin Style 2 “Ribbon Style”
Salins Style 2 takes large steps towards being a design we
would recognise, as elements are: more clearly executed,
generally larger and better defined, than the cramped and
chaotic Style 1. The first examples can be found in western
Germany, but within Scandinavia, it is eastern Sweden
where it is most associated, far away from the centres of
Style 1. While in England it is most often found along the
eastern seaboard, due to their close links to Scandinavia.
On occasion Styles 1 and 2 can be on the same object but
this is rare and this therefore implies one of two things;

Salins Style 2,
Image After Bernhard Salin

either that there were separate workshop traditions, or Style 1 was rejected for Style 2. It could
be this is due to the conversion to Christianity but some pre Christian burials, contain Style 1.
In English context it is with the Sutton Hoo ship burial which Style 2 is most associated. This is
usually dated around 625AD, but could be in the range of 580-640, the best evidence for dating
being Merovingian coins found in the purse. However other good examples have also been
found in the lower Thames valley, and East Midlands.
In Style 2, animals with long ribbon like bodies and three-strand banding develop from the
confusion of Style 1, into orderly interlace patterns. Knots and loops cover the surface, creating a
flat effect which is more delicate and planned and because the style is not achieved using chip
carving, it appears less grotesque. As the design progressed, these animals degenerate into mere
strings of parts, and it can be hard to spot that a wire loop or coil is supposed to be a set of jaws,

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or an eye. In Style 1, there are often processions of animals ‘S’-shaped in profile with their legs
looping around their neighbours and their jaws biting their own, or their neighbour’s body.

th

Taplow Clasp, C7 . Style 2

The advent of Style 2 corresponds with the popularisation chiefly in Kent (as well as East Anglia
and elsewhere), of filigree and granulation technique used in gold-smithing and this lends itself
well to the long snake like forms of Style 2.
The following are characteristic forms for Style 2 animals:


Predatory birds head with angled eye surrounds, a curved
beak and a pointed “chin”



A beast biting its own body



Pairs of animals with overlapping or interlaced jaws
trunks and limbs



In Scandinavia the animals are whole but twisted and
interlaced



In England they are whole but are shown less elaborately
contorted



On the continent whole animal motifs are rare but heads
are quite common



Human forms are almost absent

As previously mentioned, Style 2 is often combined with
Polychrome Style in both Frankia and England, and this is
normally applied to sword furniture and strap plates. Once again,
some of the most magnificent examples of this blend are found in
the Sutton Hoo artefacts. Moreover, on the buckle from this find

Buckle From Sutton Hoo,
Style 2

is a common form of variation in Style 2 where the middle of the three strands is executed
differently (pelleted ) from its more lateral partners.

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Interestingly East Anglian Style 2, serpents often have a slit for their bodies to allow another
serpent to pass through them, a feature that it shares with works from eastern Sweden and it is
this evidence that is often used to strengthen the claim that the east Anglian royal family (The
Wuffingas) had arrived from Sweden in the C6th, and were maintaining ties to their ancestral
homeland.
Style 2 was rapidly applied to weapons, then to drinking horns, horse harnesses, belt plaques
musical instruments, and many other high status objects. It may have been the badge of an elite,
which liked to present itself in terms of both warfare and feasting. It is the layout and design
elements of Style 2, which fed into the earliest Anglo-Saxon manuscript art.

650-950AD
Pagan imagery of severed heads and snarling beasts die out through this period. Though they are retained
longer in the conservative military class here too they inevitably fade, however this may reflect a decline in
grave goods following the conversion to Christianity. A lot of metalwork in this period does not fit into
any particular style and was probably created by independent smiths working outside of any influence,
while artefacts such as the Coppergate helmet perpetuate a style, which was now past its time.

Insular Style
Insular Style is best known by the inaccurate term “Celtic
art”, despite having little connection to any Celtic speaking
people other than a few important Irish monks who added
their own touches.
Appearing in Britain around 600AD, this style lasted until
the late C9th; it’s peak occurred in the late C8th but was cut
short by the first Viking raids and from here on it fades into
the Trewhiddle Style, though it did continued in Ireland until

Insular Style

the C12th.
Insular Style is the successor to Style 2 in Anglo-Saxon
art tradition, adapting it alongside motifs such as
inhabited vine scrolls. It uses the smooth flowing lines
and regular layout drawn from style 2. Zoomorphic
design is more naturalistic with more substance to their
bodies. These trends from style 2 develop in insular

Crundale Sword Pommel
Early C7th

By Benjamin Hall

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style, with added details such as the trumpet motifs added from the ‘La Tene’ art of Ireland.
It has been named “Insular” to include all artefacts (regardless of cultural origin); from the British Isles
the style was promoted by the church in order to attempt to unify art into a single Christian artistic
culture that all nations within Britain could freely draw upon.
Characterised by interlaced lines, regular knot work panels, snub-nosed animal faces with lobed ears, and
comma leaf spirals, manuscripts such as the: “Book of Durrow”, “Lindisfarne Gospel” and “Echternach
Gospel” demonstrate the most exquisite Insular Style which perpetuates well into the C9th., though there
are few metalwork finds post 650AD.

From Lindisfarne Gospel

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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Salins Style 3 “Younger Vendel Style”
In Scandinavia a style developed in the C8th that built on
many of the later aspects of Style 2 (Bernhard Salin rather
predictably dubbed this Style 3), and it is here in my
opinion where we start to see the Viking features we are
so familiar with. It’s contemporary in England (where
Style 3 was not adopted), was as we have seen the more
Salin Style 3

Christian Insular Style.

Drawing After Berhard Salin

Decoration wise there is much less rigidity in the patterning, its main element being that of
interlace zoomorphic bands, nothing really new, the innovation was to use of alternating thicker
and thinner bands giving great variety with added tendrils creating a lavish design. Like Style 2,
bands are used to create serpentine or animal forms, they’re bodies are formed by the thicker
bands that occur in ‘S’ or ‘8’ shapes, with the limbs and tails being drawn out into the thinner
bands laid out in a network around the body, which eventually becomes a mere abstracted three
stranded plait.
Initially, obvious heads shrink to become vague rounded stylised shapes, often with a lappet or
pigtail, a device which was to be expanded in later Viking styles.

Salin Style 3,
Drawing After Salin

Oseberg Style
When the Norwegian Vikings landed at Lindisfarne in 793AD their ships and kit was
probably decorated in Oseberg Style, which itself was a development from Style 3. It is
named after the famous ship burial from Norway, where two high class woman ( it’s been
suggested that one of the women was possibly Queen Åsa grand-mother of Harald Finehair) were

interned. The burial had many intricately decorated wooden objects including the ship
itself, a cart, several beds and a sled.

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By Benjamin Hall

Oseberg Prow

Germanic Design Styles

A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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The design, which persisted from the mid C8th to the mid C9th,
consists of twisting ribbon-bodied beasts much like Style 3, often with
tiny heads and feet, shown with highly stylised frilly features and
multiple tendrils. The beasts do not appear to represent any particular
species, rather they are mythical creatures drawn from stories, and even
those with human faces may be regarded as
trolls.
Oseberg Prow

It is in the Oseberg Style where we see the

first “gripping beasts” the signature of many later Viking styles.
These beasts grip, or grasp, the frame of the design and are shown in
solid contorted poses, characterised by humanoid, serpent and
dragon bodies, surrounded by thin tendrils, often having small heads
and limbs.
As an aside there is also a eastern regional variant of this design
called the Broa Style after a grave in Gotland, Sweden.
Oseberg Bed Stand

Trewhiddle Style
As we have seen, back in England the Insular design developed into the Trewhiddle Style; named
after a horde of artefacts found in Trewhiddle Manor, St Austell and dated to around 820AD,
the style persisted until the end of the C10th where the Fuller brooch is a notable example of its
later style. Anglo-Saxon metalwork character had been forced to change by economic factors; the
gold filigree and garnets of the C7th polychrome and Style 2 artefacts had given way to silver and
the shiny black Niello patterns by the C9th. This shift is contemporaneous with the widespread
move from gold to silver as a medium of exchange in Western Europe, something that has been
attributed to the failure in supply of coins from Byzantium as a result of her wars with the Arab
nations.

Item From Trewhiddle Horde

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During this period, it would have been political for the Saxon Kings and churchmen to create a
clear ideological statement when decorating personal items, demonstrating physically and
artistically the break with the Scandinavian tradition; moving away from Scandinavian styles and
developing one of their own with clear Christian elements in its design.

Strickland Brooch
Mid C9th

The design comprises small beasts (often found in confronted pairs) squeezed into sub-triangular
frames. These little creatures have square snouts, distinctly
three toed feet and speckled bodies, and are accompanied
by vestigial plant decoration (often with heart shaped
leaves), something that had featured in English metalwork
since the Quoit Brooch Style of the mid C5th. A big
innovation was the use of the human form as a major
component in the design, something earlier Anglo-Saxon art
had ignored or in the case of Style 1 used as dismembered
parts.

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By Benjamin Hall

Mount In Trewhiddle Style

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

Version 1.2014

Carolingian Tassilo Chalice Style
Lasting from 780 - 900AD, this style can be seen in both the metalwork and manuscript
traditions. It came from the court school of Charlemagne known as the Ada School (after the
Ada Gospel), which produced the earliest manuscripts in this style such as the “Godesalc
Evangelistary” (781 - 783AD), and “Lorsch Gospels” (778 - 820AD) to name but two. In
England the “Utrecht Psalter” manuscript, heavily influenced Anglo-Saxon art with its incredible
forward thinking, almost surreal style.
The metalwork style is so-called after the Tassilo Chalice, an
artefact likely taken to Austria on a Christian mission, having
been made in Northumbria, or possibly produced at
Kremsmunster Abbey (where it is housed) by people taught in
Northumbria. Either way the chalice draws on contemporary
Anglo-Saxon art styles for its decoration. In function, it’s a
copper alloy casting, covered with gold and silver, decorated with
chip carved detailing, which was then finished with Niello. The
metalwork style dates from about 770 to 800AD, differing from
its contemporary (the early Trewhiddle Style), in that it is often
deeply sculpted and gilded; however it has some similarities to,
and these include the combination of solitary animals with
vegetation.

Tassilo Chalice

Using ecclesiastical items (chalices, reliquaries, and book covers), mounts and buckles as its main
medium, the 4 main design combinations are:
i.

zoomorphs

ii.

zoomorphs with vegetation as body parts
or vegetation with animal head components

iii.

zoomorphs interlaced or enmeshed with
vegetation

iv.

pure vegetation

(combinations ii and iii are typical, the others are quite rare).
The decoration has wide borders, triangular detailing and ‘S’Tassilo Chalice Detail

shaped profiles, with cross-hatching, it often appears with silver
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domed rivets and supporting collars alongside the gilding, as well as silver and Niello accenting.
Contemporary with the Viking Oseberg style the design was fairly short lived and it would be
very unlikely if the coronation of Charlemagne in 800AD and the subsequent Carolingian
renaissance (which revived classical traditions of art, religion and culture), was not the main
reason for this.

Borre Style
The Vikings who fought Alfred in the late C9th, may have been the wearing
Borre style design. It dominates the design of metalwork right up until the
Urnes style. Developed from the Oseberg style it was, to
remain predominantly zoomorphic, though introducing
some new features to the mix, namely an internal body
Borre Style Pendant,
With Drawing Of
Design Below

panel that is in-filled in a distinct often crosshatched style.
The beasts otherwise are more contorted and reduced to
elements of a series of gripping beasts. This design element
would continue on after the Borre style for over a century.
Ring-chain, a form of knot work, is used in borders and
panels to accompany the zoomorphs, it uses bands which
are thickened so that they in contact and form a continuous

Ring chain on
Gokstad strap end

surface. Ring-chain was especially popular with Hiberno-Norse and is found on
carved stones in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Cumbria.
Determining the dates of use for this style has proven difficult, but it was perhaps used from the
mid-9th to the mid-10th century and seemed to be more popular in eastern Scandinavia, lingering
there after it fell out of use elsewhere.
Filigree and granulation decoration was sometimes used
instead of the cross-hatching and some cheaper pieces have
a “corrugated” surface at the edges imitating the sparkle of
filigree without the expense.

Borre Style Buckle And Strap End, Replica

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Jelling Style
The Jelling Style named after the Danish royal burial
ground in which King Harold Bluetooth entombed the
bodies of his parents. The most stunning exemplar is
the Jelling cup, an item reminiscent of the Sutton Hoo
treasure. The use of the style stretches from later C9th
into C11th, and was introduced to Britain by the C10th
where it was the preferred style of the Vikings of the
kingdom of York, distinct from the Borre style worn by
the Hiberno-Norse of Cumbria, to which in some
aspects it is very similar to. But rather than having a
series of elements, its motifs are independent;
characterised by ‘S’ shaped beasts appearing either
singularly or with a partner, the two of which often
intertwined, though ‘Gripping’ is not a feature.

The Jelling Cup, And A Drawing Of Its Design

Spiral hips make their first appearance and pigtails or
lappet behind the head find a revival from Style 3. Their bodies have panels of hatched
decoration on them, while the mouths are commonly open and the upper lip curled back to meet
the nose. Notched edges are used to suggest filigree, true examples
of which are uncommon. Also making
a revival from Style 3 in later Jelling
pieces are tendrils around the body,
Ornament From Orkney
Penanular Brooch

and this feature is continued in the
Mammen Style.

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Mammen Style
The Mammen Style takes its name from the Mammen axe found in Denmark, it
derives around 950AD from the earlier Jelling Style, with which it was
contemporary. It persists until 1025AD and in some areas a little longer and can be
seen, in a sense, as the transition style between Jelling and Ringerike Styles.
In the Mammen Style, the animals become bigger and take on a more naturalistic
appearance. They have hatched or dotted infill panels to their bodies which, unlike
the narrow body (and equivalently narrow infill panels) of the Jelling Style, are wider,
denser and more complex. The spiral hips are retained and indeed become more
prominent, while the limbs are elongated and merge with vegetation in complicated
graceful curves, a feature also seen in Tassilo Chalice Style. Plant tendrils seem to
have developed from contemporary western European designs where vegetation
was always popular in Carolingian art.

Ornament
From
Thorleifs
Stone

The Mammen Axe Head

Winchester Style
The Winchester style of the late C9th, C10th and early C11th, is a late
Anglo-Saxon design type mainly associated with items from the
scriptoria in the Wessex capital and was used in both manuscript and
metalwork. It perhaps came about as a result of the influence that the
fluid style of the “Utrecht Psalter” had on the artists at Canterbury; and
drew on Anglo-Saxon rhythmic decoration and Mediterranean motifs
(characterised by use of Acanthus leaf decoration in regular symmetrical
layouts), to produced lively busy illustrations.
Winchester Style Strap End

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Ringerike Style
The Ringerike Style is named after rune stones in the Ringerike district of Norway (north of
Oslo). It is a Scandinavian form of zoomorphic based design that was in use from the late C10th
to the late C11th. A product of developments from Jelling and Mammen Styles with added
developments such as crosses, palmettes and loops, which bind the motifs together. It can be
seen as a reaction to new influences from Anglo-Saxon England and the Ottonian Empire of
Germany
It is characterised by ‘naturalistic’ animals often with four legs, their spiral hips being retained
from the earlier Jelling and Mammen Styles, it also employs serpents, all of which are were
surrounded by a network of permeating plant tendrils.

Viking Ship Weathervane,
Heggen Norway

Romanesque Style
This style is associated in England with the increased Norman influence from circa 1050, though
there are a rare examples from a few centuries before this period; it is a mainland European style,
where it was widely used, and was brought to this country particularly post the conquest of
1066AD. After 1000AD, it became a sort of international style based on Byzantine models that
was most popular in France, Germany and Italy. It is characterised by frames tightly enclosing
scenes of very naturalistic humans and animals with slender proportions whose extremities often
break out from tight geometric frames, plant ornament; on the other hand, is quite stylistic.
Some design detail was drawn from Insular Style, such as opposed animals that intertwine,
however the overall effect is more representational than symbolic or geometric. The most
famous item produced in this style is the Bayeux Tapestry possible produced in Canterbury for
Bishop Odo, William the Conqueror’s half-brother. Other examples include the Julius Calendar.
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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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Scene from Julius Callender

Urnes Style (Rune Stone Style)
The rear-guard of the Viking art tradition is perhaps the most popular. It takes its name
from the Urnes stave church door in Norway and was prevalent from 1040AD until
around 1150, though in the later part of this period it would have been limited to it’s
Scandinavia heartland. Despite its namesake the most common medium for this style is
in fact monumental rune stones, hence its alternative name.
In Scandinavia, it can be divided
into early, middle and late phases
which are capable of being quite
Urnes Church Door
closely dated. It eventually merged
with the Romanesque Style after
the increasing influence from central Europe and
Christianity, developing into a hybrid UrnesRomanesque style by around 1100AD.
The animals are usually in profile and have almond
eyes and characteristically slender interwoven with
vegetation into tight patterns.
Gable End Of Urnes Church

A so called Enlish version of Urnes also exists.

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Germanic Design Styles

A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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Summary
For Viking styles the following timeline can be used; notice that they overlap and this presents as
regional variation. One notable example of overlap being the predominance of Borre Style with
the Hiberno-Norse; while their neighbours the Vikings of York preferred the Jelling Style.

This timeline allows some leniency, but I would encourage thought into where you character
originates and therefore what style you should be wearing.
For Anglo-Saxons the timeline is in some ways more simple, but in other ways not so much. The
Tassilo Chalice Style is too early for any show other than Lindisfarne. This was followed by the
Trewhiddle Style, which dates roughly from 820AD into Alfred’s reign. At this point, Christian
imagery starts to dominate and the Winchester Style takes over from the tenth century
(contemporary to the Trewhiddle style) and ends around 1000AD. From Alfred onwards more
Romanesque Style items also appear, increasingly so until the Norman Conquest of 1066 where
their numbers accelerate dramatically. The problems arise when you take into account the
influence of Danish culture on England in the 10th century, for most of the C9th it would be
unlikely that any Anglo-Saxon (especially from Wessex) wore any Viking styles. However once
the Danelaw had been established (in the late C9th) this would have changed; that there are
artefacts that bear elements of both Viking and Anglo-Saxon art and construction style from the
late C10th to attests to this.
Please refer to the separate jewellery guide to discern what metalwork is appropriate for which
period. I hope this guide goes some way to providing clarity.

References and Credits
This guide uses Brett Hammonds “British Artefacts Series”, the British Museum publication
“Anglo-Saxon Art” by Leslie Webber and Jane F Kershaws two papers on the topic Viking-Age
Scandinavian art styles and theirappearance in the British Isles Part 1 and 2. Artwork is either

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A Hildsvin Kit Guide

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drawn from the British Museum artefact library, Berhard Salins initial works or “Viking Designs”
by Dover Publishing.
The great timeline image is taken from http://www.archeurope.com/index.php?page=vikingart-styles on the 17/1/14.

Production
This guide was written in 2014 by Benjamin Hall Authenticity Officer for Hildsvin. Please
forgive any mistakes, they are almost certainly the fault of the author, rather than the far more
learned sources from which he has drawn.

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Parole chiave correlate