Accessories

Belt: The leather belt is reconstructed from a 10th C. Swedish example from Birka grave Bj913 (Arbman 1940-3; Jansson 1986; 1988). The many bronze mounts are probably of nomadic origin. Overall design was based on reconstructions of similar belts (reviewed Jansson 1986). The 'D'-shaped mounts were substituted from a single find from the 'Black Earth' (urban area) of Birka (Jansson 1986), the remainder were copied from the set in grave Bj913.

Knife: A replica of a 10th century example from Birka grave Bj944. The associated body was dressed in a kaftan and pointed cap (Arbman 1940-43). An early 11th century Arab source (ibn Miskawayh) describes Scandinavians or Rus' in battle: "....They fight with spears and shields, and carry battle axes and a weapon like a sheath knife. And they fight as foot soldiers, especially those who came by ship." (Lindholm Høje Museum, Aalborg Denmark: pers. obs. 1994). Mounts for the leather sheath were cast, or fabricated from sheet bronze, based on a photograph (Holmqvist 1979).

Sword and Scabbard: The sword is a full scale rendering of a Petersen type E, dated 10th century, from grave Bj643 at Birka, Sweden (Arbman 1940-43), made however by modern techniques typical for reenactment weapons. The scabbard is the multilaminar type typical of the period (wood core lined with skin, bound with linen, and covered with leather: Beatson 1994). The bronze chape is a copy of the one found with the sword.

Purse: 10th century, from Birka grave Bj731, as reconstructed by Graslund (1984). The bag is of wool 'rep' weave (tabby is substituted here, for reasons explained above), the lid is of two leather layers with an edge binding of leather. Of the two straps, one is functional (engaging a buckle), the other decorative, with cast bronze animal head mounts (as those of Bj731 were severely corroded, purse mounts from Bj904 (Arbman 1940-3) were substituted). The bag was decorated with silk applique and a silver 'passement' (woven wire band).

Wallet: Folding leather wallet from Birka grave Bj750:2, based on the reconstruction by Faith-Ell (Arbman 1939; 1940-3; Graslund 1986), though the decoration of gilded leather thongs has been omitted. These wallets were used to hold small valuables such as coins and balance weights. The wallet was reconstructed in red Moroccan lambskin. An original dirhem was placed within.

References


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