Jonas Lau Markussen

Mammen style

c. 950 – 1025





The Anatomy of Viking Art







  1. Loosely scrolled tendril terminals.
  2.  Long and wavy s-shaped tendrils.
  3.  Spirals as tendril terminals.
  4.  Pellets intersecting ribbons.
  5.  Concave dents.
  6.  Spirals representing hip joints.
  7.  Round eyes.






Curvy outlines with occasional straight or concave dents.






Ribbon-like single, double and triple loops.

A. Multiloops.

B. Pretzel-knots.






  • Semi-open loops and knots with some visible background.
  • Double-stranded ribbons.
  • Contours.







  • Single motifs (A, C, D).
  •  Loosely flowing compositions.
  •  Lack of symmetry (B, C, D).
  •  Additive principles.
  •  Different elements often has the same value – i.e. stems vs tendrils.





Common motifs


  • Vegetal ornaments (innovational).
  • Great beasts (Lion and snake intertwined in battle).
  • Snakes.
  • Birds.
  • Human masks




A. A Human mask – A type of motif which is seen carved in various materials such as stone, bone and wood found across Scandinavia.


B. Vegetal ornament – A type of motif which is seen on the Mammen Axe and some wooden panels from the Jelling mount both in Denmark.


C. Animal intertwined with a snake – A type of motif which is seen most prominently on the Greater Jelling Stone in Denmark, and later across Scandinavia.


D. Bird – A type of motif which is seen in various materials of which the Mammen Axe is most known.











Graham-Campbell, James, 2013. Viking Art.


Fuglesang, Signe Horn, 1980. Some Aspects of the Ringerike Style.


Fuglesang, Signe Horn, 1981. ‘Stylistic Groups in Late Viking and Early Romanesque Art.’ Acta ad Archaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia (Series altera in 8°) 79–125.


The Anatomy of Viking Art

The Anatomy of Viking Art

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