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Viking Silver Knitted Chain w/ Coiled Snake - 99.2 g

Lot 30 View Catalog

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Northern Europe, Viking / Norse culture, ca. late 9th century CE. A fantastic solid silver pendant in the form of a coiled snake. The snake's head emerges from one side, with defined eyes. The body is stamped down its length with the distinctive triangular motif well known from Viking metalwork, here giving it the appearance of scales. The tail loops into a hook, through which another silver ring, this one much thinner, has been wrapped. Attached at two terminals is a knitted silver chain, done in a style that may have originated with the Vikings. Size of pendant: 1.6" W x 2.75" H (4.1 cm x 7 cm); length of chain: 29" (73.7 cm); 99.2 grams

The serpent form may relate to the Norse myth of Jörmungandr (Jormungand), the Midgard Serpent, a child of Loki and a giantess who according to legend grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail, forming an ouroboros. According to legend, when it releases its tail, Ragnarök, the final battle of the gods that will result in Earth becoming completely covered in water, will begin. One of the most popular motifs in Norse art concerns the story of Thor and Jörmungandr. In classic Thor style, he sets off on a reckless fishing expedition, taking the head of an ox as his bait, and sails further out to sea than he should. With a large hook and the ox head, he catches Jörmungandr, who surfaces, poison and blood dripping from his mouth. Thor's fishing companion, the giant Hymir, quickly cuts Thor's line before he can slay the serpent with his hammer and Jörmungandr sinks beneath the waves, the threat at bay - for the moment. Multiple Viking picture stones have been found depicting this story, including one from as early as the late 8th century.

Provenance: private New York, USA collection

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Tarnish on piece with very light encrustation in lower profile areas.

Lot Passed

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Estimate $9,000 – $12,000
Starting Bid $5,000

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7:00 AM - Jul 20, 2017
Artemis Gallery


686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States

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