Jonas Lau Markussen

Man with a Ring

This illustration displays some typical characteristics of figurative motifs from early medieval Scandinavia.


The figure of a man in profile holding a ring in one hand is known from little pendant figurines and several rune stones. He is placed opposite a woman with a drinking horn facing him on the stones. Above them is the scene of Sigurd piercing the dragon, Fafnir, with his sword, Gram.


A plausible interpretation is that the two figures depict the meeting of Sigurd and the valkyrie Brynhild/Sigrdrífa after he kills Fafnir. The cursed ring Andvaranaut in his hand represents the treasure he won by slaying the dragon, as well as his impending betrayal of Brynhild. A betrayal that will ultimately lead to their death through Brynhild’s revenge.



Learn more about the development of figurative motifs.


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