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You know, sometimes I think that if I had found a Plesiosaurus skeleton a thousand years ago, I would have believed in dragons even more intensely. Could it have inspired the Vikings' much-loved motifs of fearsome dragon ship bows?
A slate mould for casting the needlehead and also the original needlehead found in Birka over 150 years ago.
These finds are really common. They were really popular in Danish Hedeby, and in Sweden we also record several beautifully preserved pieces in Birka and Gotland and even in Kiev Rus in the Ryurikovo Gorodishche area. South of Uppsala we have recorded at least 11 finds that we have managed to track down. And that already makes the dragon needle exactly the one you need!
There can be no doubt about the popularity of dragon motifs in the Viking Age.
They are a major pattern on engravings, jewellery and also an unmissable part of the already fascinating dragon carvings. For example, the record of Harald Hardrada's ship Ormen reads as follows:
On the bow of the ship was a gilded dragon's head and on the stern a hook. This ship, which Snorri calls a bussa, had 35 rowing positions.
"King Harald stayed all winter in Nidaros (A.D. 1062) and had a ship built on the shore, a bussa. The ship was built in the same size as the Long Serpent, and every part of it was finished with the greatest care. There was a dragon's head on the bow, a dragon's tail on the stern, and the sides of the bow were gilded. The ship had thirty-five oarsmen's benches, and was large and exceedingly handsome for her size, for the king had everything belonging to a ship's rigging made of the finest materials, both sails and rigging, anchors and ropes." (The Saga of Harald Hardrada)
Thiodolf, the skald, then sang about it:
It was on a Saturday,
The ship's sails were taken down and laid up,
And our dragon sailed past the city,
so that the maidens might see our sides glisten.
From Nidus, brave Harald steers;
The dragon is going westward;
Our boys together with oars down,
The splash echoes round the shores.
The bronze needle is 15.5 cm long and weighs about 22 grams. It has a round eye firmly attached, into which you tie a string (textile, leather) and then wrap the pierced cloak with the string under the needle to ensure that it does not slip. If you wear the cloak the same way, we can also recommend sewing the eye directly to its permanent position.
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