ca. 8th-12th century AD. Viking. Pair of bronze ravens in side profile. The head of each contains a large circular eye and the neck and body contain striations to mimic feathers. The wings are closed and by the side while the legs are squatted as if the bird is seated. A hole in the back below the tail allows the legs to be divided into two, and the decoration is the same on each side. These pieces have retained a pleasant green patina. These twin ravens represent Hugin and Muninn, the mythical ravens of Odin. Odin, the king of the gods, was heavily associated with ravens, and was often depicted with Hugin and Muninn perched on each shoulder. They were said to fly all over the world and bring information to him. Hugin and Muninn are often translated as Thought and Memory respectively. Ravens came to be associated with Odin, the intellectual god of war, because of their sharp intelligence and their loitering on the battlefield after warfare as carrion picking at the ‘sacrificed’ dead.
Size: L:Set of 2: 37mm / W:34mm ; 38.5g
Provenance: Private London collection; formerly acquired on the UK and European art market 1980-2000.