VINTAGE NORWEGIAN SILVER ENAMELLED VIKING LONGSHIP BROOCH
I am seriously pleased to have an Aksel Holmsen piece here! Sterling Silver and enamel Viking longship brooch, marked to reverse with his maker's mark and 925.S denoting Sterling Silver. The detail is astounding; the individual planks of the hull are clearly visible and the carved dragon-headed prow and tailed stern are fantastically rendered.
There is no date mark required on Norweigan Silver; Aksel Holmsen opened his own silver and enamel workshop in 1906; however, Norway's silver standard at that time was 830.S and 925.S was not routinely adopted until 1920. That is the eldest estimate possible for the age of this brooch, however, the company did not close until 1971. Similar pieces online are listed as from the 1960s, so this would be my best estimate.
In good order with no enamel damage. Some oxidization commensurate with age. The pin still clicks into place securely despite a slight bend.
Measures approx 28x23mm.
The longship was the soul of the Viking. The longship was the means by which venturing forth into the unknown was accomplished. The Viking ships could row with oars or catch the wind with a broad, square sail. They were keeled for speed and precision but had a shallow draught. All this meant that Vikings could cross the cold seas from Scandinavia to places that had never heard of them, then use riverways to move deep into these lands all while outpacing any enemies who might come against them. It was no wonder that the Viking ships were called dragon ships, for it was as if an otherworldly force was unleashed upon the peoples of Europe.
The relationship of the Vikings to their ships is even more striking when we realize that - in some ways - these ships were glorified boats, and not what we think of as ships at all. In such a vessel you would feel the waters of the deep slipping by just underneath of your feet as sea spray pelted your face. This level of commitment, acceptance of risk, rejection of limitations, and consuming hunger to bend the world to one's will is difficult for many of us to accurately imagine.