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28.12.2020

Torslunda plates

These plates Torslund four cast bronze plates found in the parish of Torslund on the Swedish island of Öland .  They show figures in relief representing what are believed to be traditional scenes from Germanic mythology . The plates were intended for production, not display; By applying thin sheets of foil to the scenes and hitting them with a hammer or otherwise pressing them from behind, identical images could be quickly mass-produced. The resulting pressed foil films would be used to decorate the luxurious helmets found at Wendel , Walsgard, and Sutton Hoo . Two of the plates could be made as castings from existing pressed foils .

The plates were discovered in a pyramid of stones in early 1870 and are in the collection of the State Historical Museum . They are considered "famous" because they contain complete scenes from mythology, unlike the known fragmentary and degraded scraps of press-foil . The plates were exhibited internationally, including from May 13th to June 26th 1966, when they were part of the exhibition "Swedish Gold" at the British Museum. The tablets date from the Vendel period of the sixth and seventh centuries.

The plate "dancing man with horns. headdress and man with a spear in wolfskin " is particularly well known for missing the right eye, which a laser scanner showed was crossed out, probably from the original used to make the mold . This is reminiscent of the one-eyed Scandinavian god Odin, who is said to have given an eye to be allowed to drink from a well whose waters contained wisdom and reason, and suggests that the figure on the plate is him. He is depicted together with a man-wolf, interpreted as a berserker ( Úlfhéðinn ) . The latter is perhaps a particular case of the incarnation of the wolf-warriors, led in ecstatic dance by the god of madness.

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