PERIOD: This piece is designed around a recurring motif of one of the very early schools of Viking art, the Borre style (ca 860-925 CE). As with nearly all our pieces, it is an original creation using the distinctive style and motifs of historical pieces, but not a literal copy of any historical item.


USAGE: The illustration piece is finished as a pendant for a necklace, although it could be made up as a brooch on a custom basis with some custom modification of the wax model prior to casting. The suspension is quite typical of period Norse pendants, a one-piece design incorporating a "barrel" with a transverse hole, suitable for chain, string, or leather thong.


DESIGN: The many variations of the gripping beast motif were used for all sorts of decorative purposes on otherwise utilitarian articles such as belt mounts and axes as well as in purely jewelry applications such as pendants similar to this one. The gripping beast is a Scandinavian counterpart to the Celtic zoomorphic designs, but several features distinguish it from Celtic work. For instance, although both often involved greater or lesser degrees of interlacing, the Viking designs are not made with the intricate symmetry and involved interweaving of limbs of later Celtic work, although the Viking pieces are complete and well-balanced compositions in their own right. Some other characteristic features of the gripping beast are incorporated in our piece, notably the outward-looking frontal view of the face with its fan-like ears or horns, the three-fingered gripping appendages, and the three-line construction of the beast's body.



Wilson and Klindt-Jensen, Plates XXVII-XXXII (9th and 10th cent. CE)

Norse Gripping Beast Pendant




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