Icelandic drinking horns

Drinking horns along with brooches and other items in the Iceland National Museum

Drinking horns along with brooches and other items in the Iceland National Museum

It doesn’t really directly apply to my interest in Viking Age costuming, but I thought I’d also share a display from the Iceland National Museum on some of the drinking horns.  These weren’t actually from the Settlement Age area of the museum, but rather in a display on the “New Ruling Class” in the Middle Ages in Iceland. The display stated that drinking horns “were common in the Nordic world in the Middle Ages, used for toasts on special occasions”, but that “only in Iceland were such horns decorated with carvings, the oldest one still in existence daring to the first half of the 15th century”.

From top left, clockwise:

  • “Drinking horn with carvings of King David, St. Olav and probably Solomon. Inscription: God so loved the world – 16th century”
  • “Drinking horn depicting Adam and Eve at [the] tree of [ ] Knowledge of Good and Evil. 17th century”
  • “Unusually well-preserved drinking horn with images of monsters, the head of a beast, a human face and interlaced decoration.”
  • “Drinking horn with images of St. Anne, Mary and infant Jesus, and Christ on the cross in the embrace of God the Father, 15th century.”
  • The dark coloured one in the back is noted as “Mariuhorn, drinking horn with the [inscription] Ave Maria”.

 

Carved horns  in the Iceland National Museum

Carved horns in the Iceland National Museum

Above – close up on the unusually well-preserved horn.

Decorated horn  in the Iceland National Museum

Decorated horn in the Iceland National Museum

Above, a closer view of the Adam & Eve horn.

The museum also had a horn from the 1400s, but I didn’t get a good photo of that one.
National Museum of Iceland
www.nationalmuseum.is
Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 530 2200

From the Saga Museum

Although the Iceland National Museum didn’t have any Viking Age horns, the Saga Museum did depict horns for their wax figures.

The wax figures representing the earliest settlers of Iceland in the Saga Museum

The wax figures representing the earliest settlers of Iceland in the Saga Museum

The male figure depicting one of the earliest Icelandic settlers wears an engraved horn hanging from his belt.

Drinking horn portrayed on one of the figures in the Saga Museum

Drinking horn portrayed on one of the figures in the Saga Museum

Sagamuseum – The Saga Museum
www.sagamuseum.is/
Grandagarður, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 511 1517

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