The Vikings Who Loved Wearing Colorful

Posted by Ms Elly on

The Vikings Who Loved Wearing Colorful

For years, the image of the Vikings in movies and books has been covered with a dark and dull layer. This makes us stereotype that life of the Vikings was full of darkness. You do think that the Vikings wore boring and dull clothes like grey or even colorless, don't you? A number of written text and findings recorded the opposite: The Vikings loved color. 

Viking colorful clothes

The Vikings used strong color to make their clothes, shields, ships, and other equipment. Many of the Vikings dyed their clothes and decorated inside their clothes with patterns and adornments. They did this to highlight their high socials status. 

Of all the colors in the Viking clothes, red was the most favorite. In the Viking age, this color came from a herbaceous plant known as the madder. But to obtain this plant was a difficult task because this type of plant couldn't grow in the Scandinavian land. So chances were that the Vikings traded the tree with the others from different regions. The rarity of this plant once more time highlighted the fact that red was the color of nobility and wealth in the Viking age. 

Some exciting Viking excavation like the Gokstad or the Oseberg recorded the use of colors in the Viking age. 

Image of VIking clothes Viking loves to share about his partner

When the Oseberg was excavated in 1904, it was still in a very good condition and the fabric found showed many colors. Unfortunately, after a time of exposing to the light, the color faded away. 

The Oseberg even had a very beautiful tapestry which depicted some kinds of the Viking ritual scene. (See more: Oseberg Excavation) Gokstad had some traces of colors in the shields. 

King Canute's Striped Sails

King Canute the Mighty and his alley Jarl Hacon attacked Norway with 1400 ships in 1087. History of the Kings of Norway told a very impressive sight: He (King Canute) had a great crowd of men and enormous ships. His ship was like a dragon, so big that it counted up to 60 benches. The sails were striped with many colors, blue, red, and green. The ships were painted above the water. The colors showed that the Viking paid attention to use colors to emphasize their wealth and high social rank. 

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  • Hi Theresa, thanks for your comment and interest. I already fix it in the article! Hope you enjoy reading blog on BaviPower!

    Ms Elly on

  • I teach a dye class called Dye Like a Viking. I need make one correction to your article. Madder is an herbaceous plant that dies back come winter, not a tree.

    Theresa on

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