Extremely Rare Viking 'Urnes Style Serpent' Openwork Mount
Copper-alloy, 10.42 grams, 26.87 mm. 11th century AD. A cast openwork mount in the form of a serpentine creature curled into a circle and biting its own tail, with a tracery of thinner tendril legs looped around the body. Two attachment pins are in place, one with the copper-alloy cleat still present. The use of graceful curves and fine tendrils indicates the Late Viking Urnes Style, the last evolution of Scandinavian art before European Romanesque came to dominate. The animal depicted is probably Jormungandr, the great monstrous serpent of Viking mythology, which dwells in the sea and will come up onto the land at the end of the world, where it will kill and be killed by the god Thor (Þorr). The mount is slightly convex in section, for attachment to a curved surface. Reference: cf. looped animal mount in the British Museum donated by Sir. A.W. Franks in 1862, published in Backhouse, J., Turner, D.H. and Webster, L. The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art 966-1066, London, 1984 item 109. Extremely fine condition, crisp and well-defined. Provenance: found Suffolk, England.