Reenactors call this pattern “Oseberg”silk. From the famous Oseberg ship grave we know several silk fragments. One of them could be identified as a paralel to another find what remained to us in a much better quality. This specific silk is now in the Museo Sacro in the Vatican. From this we could reconstruct this famous silk for you, what is definately used by the vikings.
The pattern is part of the famous Early Medieval pattern family: Bahram Gur hunter depictions. It originally came from a Byzantine workshop.
The depicted scene comes from the persian mythology, and reused by Byzantines as well. Silks with this motive are found all around Europe.
We know a high variety of finds of silk fabrics with the Bahram Gur hunt in Europe, all of which were used there for much more prestigious purposes. Some of the most significant finds of this kind:
- RUSSIA, From the famous sites of Moshchevaya Balka and Nizhny Arkhyz in the Caucasus;
- RUSSIA, From Xth century woman burial from Pskov among the textil finds we see an underdress and an apron, woven in blue tabby linen adorned with such horsearcher silk;
- GERMANY, The most complete of the surviving specimens (the closest to the fragments found in the Moshchevaya Balka, which served as the basis for their reconstruction) is the silk of St. Kunibert in the Basilica of St. Cunibert in Cologne;
- ITALY, Two pieces are used in the golden altar of the Cathedral of San Ambrogio in Milan
- CZECH REPUBLIC Two fragments decorating the binding of the famous hand-written Gospel from the 9th century from the library of Strahov Monastery in Prague.
- FRANCE, Fragment in the treasury of the Saint-Calais Cathedral
- FRANCE, Cushion of Saint Remy in the Basilica of Saint Remy in Reims. The relative chronology given by this find is interesting: The pillow of St. Remy was covered with one of the variants of silk of the 9th century with the so-called senmurvs, but as an inner stuffing a badly worn piece of silk with the of Bahram Gur hunter scene was used;
- FRANCE, The small fragments that served as relics’ vans were in Switzerland in the monastery treasury of Sonne (Sienna), in the cathedral of Sanetien in Sans in France and in the Kestner museum in Hanover.
- VATICAN, Silk from the Museu Sacro. Here the frame, animals, hunting scene are also identical, but this time the hunters hunting without horses.
- NORWAY, Silk fragments from the Oseberg ship burial also could be identified as parts of the Bahram Gur hunter silks.
Anna A. Jerusalimskaya – Moshchevaja Balka 2012. А.А. Иерусалимская: Мощевая Балка. Санкт-Петербург 2012.
Osebergfunnet, Utgitt av Kulturhistorisk Museum Universitet i Oslo – Under redaksjon av Arne Emil Cristensen og Margareta Nockert – Bind IV Tekstilene, Oslo. 2006.
Would like to read more about silk in the Early Medieval what vikings and nomads used?
Silk in the Early Medieval II. – Silk for Vikings
Silk in the Early Medieval III. – Silk for Nomads and Block Printed silks