Viking art based off of a Ancient Viking Axe Artefact

The term “Viking art” can be a bit confusing to some people since the name “Viking” technically refers to what a certain group of people from Scandinavia DID during a period of time in history. 

However, I believe it is a bit more complicated than simply equating the Vikings to Raiders and Pillagers. Just like having a career nowadays, you are not just your career, you are more than what you merely do at work, you have a life outside of work as well. And so did the Vikings.

Vikings were also farmers, blacksmiths, leather smiths, carpenters, cooks, healers, parents, artists, and anything else they needed to be to survive. To say they were simply a vocation is to negate the whole of who they were. They were people, a specific group of people, from a specific part of the world, during a specific time period in history. They also had a specific belief system which shows itself in the beautiful relics they left behind as forms of art. 

These were not only done by violent warriors, but also peaceful humans who loved creating things of beauty. The ancient artefacts from the current Scandinavian countries, paint a picture of who the Vikings were. Some, such as the amazing  Runestones, even have language and words written to describe what happened and who those people were specifically. And not all of them wanted to fight, but lived during a time that battle was the only option to survive. 

Runestone Art based of an ancient Runestone in Sweden

“Viking Art” is used to describe the art from those specific people during that time in history. Not just the violent pillagers, but the Vikings who lived among the raiders as well, the artists, the shamans and healers, and the Norns. The ones who left behind beautiful carvings, etchings in stone and metal, and whatever other natural material they felt like using. I feel the art on the relics found today represent a group of people, not just a vocation. The term “Viking” in dictionaries today leaves out too much of who the people of that time were, and the art they left behind is proof of that. The Vikings were not only raiders and pillagers, but wonderful artists. 

If you have and questions or comments, feel free to share below.

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