Lot 1014: Viking Jellinge Gripping Odin Pendant
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 10th century AD. A silver pendant showing a male figure, Odin (?), with body composed of an interlaced strip with hands gripping the edge of the frame; suspension loop in the form of a bearded male face. 11 grams, 34mm (1 1/2"). Property of a professional collector; acquired before 1990. Supplied with a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate. In Norse mythology, from which stems most of our information about the god, Odin is associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companionsthe wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard and Odin rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the god Baldr with Thor, and is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, Odin frequently seeks knowledge in some manner and in disguise (most famously by obtaining the Mead of Poetry), at times makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, and takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla. Odin has a particular association with Yule, and mankind's knowledge of both the runes and poetry is also attributed to Odin. This pendant would appear to represent Odin sacrificing himself on the world tree, Yggdrasill, in his pursuit for knowledge and the sacred runes. Odin hung himself from a branch of the world tree that hung over the well of Urd, pierced himself with his spear and looked into the sacred waters. He hung for nine days and nights poised between life and death and on the last day the runes revealed themselves to him and he gained the sacred and secret knowledge that elevated him to an even higher state in the world of the gods. The Jelling style of art takes its name from the tenth century, Danish, royal cemetery at Jelling in Jutland and is noted for the ribbon like animals that decorate a silver cup and a memorial stone from the site.
Condition Report: Very fine condition. Rare.