7 February 2006

Viking Embroidery

Historical embroidery can be a bit of a famine or feast situation. For some eras and areas there area multitude of extant examples and others sources. For others, there is nothing. Viking embroidery falls somewhere in the middle. We have a few examples of surviving textiles which are backed up by some literary sources. The main embroidery find for Viking embroidery is the Mammen excavation. This burial dates from the 10th Century. The image on the left is a reconstruction of the clothing and embroidery found at Mammen.

The most famous site on the web for Viking Embroidery is Carolyn Priest-Dormans' Viking Embroidery Stitches and Motifs. This site gives some historical background as well as line drawings of the motifs on the clothing.

Embroidery from the Tenth Century Viking Grave at Mammen Denmark by Heather Rose Jones is another site, which compliments this information with drawings of the motifs. What makes this site especially useful is that it gives the motifs are drawn to scale and also has colour charts to inform what colours were used on the original.

These sites are a good place to start, but also when looking for design ideas, look at other Viking crafts, such as wood carving, stonework, etc to find the types of design styles that were popular.