Jonas Lau Markussen

Early Animal Style

The Anatomy of Germanic Art






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The Anatomy of Early Animal Style


c. 375 – 475






1. Geometric ornamentation: triquetras/triskelions, arches, circles and dots.
2. Heads in Profile
3. Round Eyes
4. Open outwards-curling jaws
5. Pointy chin.
6. Boat-shaped ears.
7. Simple, almost almond-shaped hips.
8. Feet with toe-fronds.





Even outlines without tapering or indents.





Simple wavy curves.


A. S-shapes.





  • Interlace rarely occurs.
  • Loose interlace with visible background.
  • Single-stranded ribbons.
  • Double-stranded ribbons.
  • Triple-stranded ribbons.
  • Uniform line widths.






  • Simple compositions based on line symmetry (A, B, C, D).
  • A blend of geometric and zoomorphic framework (C).
  • A preference for spiral terminals as main ornamental elements (C, D).






  • Pelta shapes (C).
  • Ribbon animals (A, B, D).
  • Four-legged animals (B).
  • Animals with front legs only and curly tails (A, D).
  • Human faces (D).
  • Animal-head terminals (C).






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