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Viking Silver Bracelet - Coiled Snake, 153.1 grams

Northern Europe, Viking / Norse culture, ca. late 9th century CE. An incredible bracelet made of thick, coiled and twisted silver wire, forming a double loop for the bracelet and a sinuous, knotted serpent form, with the head of the serpent rising high above the bands of the bracelet. The bracelet itself is stamped repeatedly with a diamond form with a dot inside of it; the head of the serpent is stamped with the classic Viking motif of triangles with dots inside of them. Wearable! Size: 2" W x 3.4" H (5.1 cm x 8.6 cm); 153.1 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. This serpent bracelet may recall that story.

Condition: Tip of tail may be an old loss. Excellent patina, with nice form.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection

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