RAM Vikings – Harness bow

Søllested, Denmark harness bow

Søllested, Denmark harness bow

One of the absolute show-stopper pieces at the Danish Viking Exhibit hosted at the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) was a gorgeous harness bow.

Søllested, Denmark harness bow

Søllested, Denmark harness bow- the ornamental design is symmetrical

The description listed on the bow was:

“Harness-bow with two fully-mounted wolfhead terminals, ridgemount and with gilt-bronze mounts riveted to the modern wooden bow. Søllested, Funen, Denmark 950-975 CE ”

Harness Bow

Another poster nearby put the bow into context, and said:

This wooden harness bow with ornamental bronze mounts was worn on the back of a horse pulling a carriage. It was found with another bow in a Danish burial chamber.
The terminal figures show growling and howling wolves.
In Viking mythology the god Odin was accompanied by two wolves Geri and Freke (meaning the Greedy One and the Rapacious One). The two small figures on the  upper mount may represent the god Odin and goddess Frigg.

Søllested, Denmark harness bow

Søllested, Denmark harness bow – sorry for the low quality photo – it was the only way to get the whole thing in one photo!

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2 comments on “RAM Vikings – Harness bow

  1. ooh! I had to do research into harness bows for my last novel (The Wound of Words) – but I didn’t come across anything quite so ornamental as this!

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