Oseberg Ship

Oseberg Ship

Date ca. 834

Movement Early Medieval | Viking

Provenance Oseberg, Norway

Housed at Vikingskiphuset, Universitets Olksaksamling, Oslo, Norway


Though Scandinavia was never influenced directly by Rome, we do see an intermingling of the region’s tastes with those of the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, especially of the animal style. Further, it appears that the practice of ship burials originated in Scandinavia; here, a ship that would have been used as a pleasure boat was buried to hold the remains of two women, one thought to be Queen Asa, along with a trove of treasures that has since been stolen. The ship terminates in wave-like swirls at either end, and either side of the ship is framed by bands depicting snarling beasts formed in the animal style.

Buried along with the two bodies of the Oseberg ship burial were five wooden posts terminating in animal heads. The patterns here are thought to have originated with the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, and they have been modified to fit the curves of this sea creature.