Northern Europe, Viking / Norse culture, ca. 8th to 11th century CE. An elegant hammered silver bracelet with a cast motif resembling a sunburst at its center and radiating triangular stamps flowing outward from the sunburst. The stamped triangle pattern was very popular in the Viking world, although its meaning is unknown. The sunburst may have been inspired by the fascinating visions that the Vikings encountered sailing above the Arctic Circle, where optical phenomena like false sunrises and sun dogs have been documented extensively. Size: 2.75" W (7 cm); 63.6 grams
A piece such as this would have been made in a specialized workshop centered around a hearth, probably using the lost wax casting technique. The important Viking metalworking shops correspond to their great trading ports and proto-urban centers - Birka, Helgo, Sigtuna, and Lund in Sweden, Ribe, Haithabu (Hedeby), and Fyrkat in Denmark, and Kaupang and Trondheim in Norway. Silver was the principal currency of the Viking world, which stretched from Russia to northern Canada at the height of their influence. In many places, the Vikings kept silver not as coins, but as jewelry, a wearable currency form that was not subject to the authority of a monarch or mint. One of the most common archaeological finds from the Viking period is a hoard of metal objects, often buried in the earth or deposited in bodies of water, like river beds.
Provenance: private New York, USA collection
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