Jonas Lau Markussen

Palmette Brooch

Many small, almost identical so-called palmette brooches from the late Viking Age have been found in recent years. They are very similar in silhouette, size and overall design but can differ in detail.


The general design is typically composed of a bearded man’s head with two animal heads protruding from it, forming an ornate headpiece, not unlike the headdresses with bird head terminals depicted in pre-Viking age art connected to Odinn figures and berserkr warriors.


The earliest examples of the headdress images date back to the helmet plates of the 500s, but they are still featured centuries later, for instance, on the Oseberg tapestries from the 800s.


The Ringerike style palmette brooches of the 11th century are remarkably similar in composition while stylistically adapted to the artistic fashions of their time.


So could they be an expression harkening back to earlier Nordic cultural traditions and warrior iconography?


Get more content like this directly in your inbox for free

You'll receive an email newsletter every other week, and you can easily cancel at anytime.