Mammen Axe


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Description of the Product

During the winter of 970-71 CE a member of King Harald Bluetooth’s court was buried in Mammen, Denmark. For his last journey he was furnished lavishly with an expensive embroidered costume of purple and red silk, as well as an axe with inlaid silver decoration. The Viking decoration style of that period, the Mammen style, takes its name after that, probably ceremonial, small axe.

From the 4th century CE onwards foundations were built for Viking Age art and decoration: convoluted animal ornamentation was used to decorate a wide variety of objects. Many of the design elements are shared with the Celtic and Germanic traditions. Semi-circular nicks and tendrils with open, hook-like ends are typical of the wavy Mammen Style design. The Mammen axe also features a triangular human mask motif which was already present in earlier Viking styles, such as Borre and Jellinge.

It is not known whether the Mammen burial was christian or pagan, as King Harald himself had just converted recently and conversion of the Danes was not going too well. The symbols on the axe can be interpreted in different ways, and that might well have been the intention. The bird on one side of the axe is thought to be Gullinkambi, a rooster who in Norse mythology sits on top of Yggdrasil, the world tree, and wakes the einherjar, the souls of fallen heroes, in Valhalla each morning. The Ragnarök is also said to start at Gullinkambis crowing. The tree motif on the other side of the axe is thought to be Yggdrasil. Another, a Christian, interpretation of the motifs has the tree of life depicted on one side and the phoenix, a symbol of resurrection in Christian mythology, on the other.

The Mammen Axe is a perfect example of the Viking’s blend of art and war. This historically accurate recreation of this beautiful piece is a tribute to the creative as well as the martial side of this dynamic, influential culture. This gorgeous yet functional weapon features an incised silver decoration, just as in the original, now in the Nationalmuseet in Copenhagen. The original might have been a throwing axe, small utilitarian tool or a decorated ceremonial status symbol showing the wealth and high status of the wearer.
Made by Hanwei. Specs will vary slightly from piece to piece.

Overall length:40,5 cm
Blade length:9.7 cmBlade thickness near shaft:11,5 mmBlade thickness near edge:4,1 mmWeight:440g
Blade material:Carbon steel Sharpness: Sharp

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