Over the ages, the "Viking Era" produced some of the most enigmatic and amazing artwork of the early middle ages. From 750 c.e. to 1150 c.e. The art of the Norse goes back even further, none as the  Northern Bronze Age,  1700–500 c.e. with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of written sources. It is followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age.

I use the designs of the early medieval period, these are the designs most commonly known and used in tattoo, movies and even T.V. shows such as Vikings.

I would also like to thank Courtney Davis, Nils E. Friss and Galleri Bryggen for all their hardwork and research, helping to bring Nordic culture, art and ideas to the world. Without there hard work, a lot of the artwork you see today would most likely not be seen. Their efforts have helped shed light on the Nordic worlds of the past.

Broa/Oseberg - 750 to 840 c.e.

The first style named after a grave find in Broa on Gotland, Sweden, and the magnificent ship burial at Oseberg, 100 km southwest of Oslo, Norway, which contained a fantastically carved longship, a wagon, sledges, bedsteads, tent frames and a huge number of highly decorated everyday objects. The Oseberg find is the richest Viking grave find ever to be revealed anywhere in the world.

This style consists of sinuous beasts with small heads, frond-like feet and multiples of tendrils. The sinuous beasts are so highly stylized as to make them zoologically unidentifiable. It should be noted that the first "gripping beasts" are in evidence. This is the hallmark of the true Viking style of ornamentation.

Borre - 835 to 970 c.e.

Named after a ship burial find of bronze bridal mounts, at Borre in Vestfold, Norway. This style is a direct descendant of the Broa style. It has two principle motifs: a gripping beast and a ring-chain link style.

The gripping beast motif consists of zoomorphic beasts with mask-like heads and with bulging eyes and Mickey Mouse ears that look out over their bodies. The bodies themselves have a simple hatch infill. The ring-chain link motif has no identifiable animals but is purely a running pattern of intertwining tendrils.

Jellinge - 880 to 1000 c.e.

The Jellinge style takes it name from the style found on wooden and stone fragments in the Danish Royal Burial Mound at Jellinge.

The Jellinge style still has beasts, however they no longer grip themselves or the surrounding frames. the ribbon-shaped bodies are still seen in profile as per the Borre style, but now the heads have pigtails, the bodies are larger, there is more hatch infill and also small spiral hips. The Borre and Jellinge styles chronologically overlap. Thus it is not uncommon to find pieces of work that are hybrids of bothe styles, i.e. a ribbon boddied gripping beast with pigtails.

Mammen - 950 to 1060 c.e.

The Mammen style is named after the designs on an axe found in the grave of a Danish Viking from Mammen in Jutland.

The Mammen style animal grew imperceptibly out of that of the Jellinge style. The two can be difficult to tell apart and indeed during the transitional period it would be a mistake to try and separate them. The Mammen animals become larger, realistic and more natural in proportion. Thus there was more infill and the spiral hips became much larger.

The Mammen style was not in fashion for very long, perhaps two generations. It could be said to be the transitional stage between Jellinge and Ringerike. This would be true except that before the Mammen style there was no interest in using plants, leaves or tendrils to be ornamental motifs in the form of foliate patterns. It should be noted that during the 9th and 10th centuries vine scrolls and acanthus leaves were commonly used motifs in the rest of Europe.

Ringerike - 980 to 1080 c.e.

The Ringerike style, which grew out of the Mammen style, takes its name from a district in Norway to the north or Oslo where it was used to a large degree on carved slabs of stone. The Ringerike style differs from Mammen style in two main ways. First, the short tendrils now become a foliate pattern or regularly crossing tendrils; second, large basal spirals are common.

Urnes - 1035 to 1150 c.e.

The wooden stave church of Urnes in western Norway gives its name to the last phase of Viking art. The powerful beasts of the Mammen and Ringerike periods are no longer in evidence. Instead the magnificent beasts now have elegant greyhound- like bodies surrounded by thin ribbons. The foliate patterns no longer truly exist; they have now become thin curving ribbons with only the odd bud or animal head to indicate their past style.

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