Tuesday, 23 July 2019
The Vikings Are Here
The Royal Alberta Museum here in Edmonton currently has a wonderful exhibition called Vikings: Beyond the Legend. It's the largest touring show of Viking artifacts in the world and is on loan from various Danish museums. The exhibition is a mixture of original historical items like weapons, coins, jewelry, etc. and some replicas like this full-size, six-metre funeral ship shown above, built with Viking Age techniques and materials.
The originals are all safely out of reach in display cases, of course, but the freely accessible replicas are also protected, LOL --
A couple of weeks ago, My Rare One and I made a point of going to a special "Vikings Day" at the museum because, in addition to the exhibition, an Alberta group of Viking re-enactors were there, displaying how Vikings lived, played and fought. Displays included weaponry, runes, jewelry making, gaming, carpentry, agriculture, herbal lore, etc.
One of my favourite displays concerned how the Vikings engaged in bee-keeping as part of their agriculture. After all, they did love their mead!
But my most favourite display was about Viking musical instruments. These included stringed instruments made of wood with gut strings, which were plucked like lyres or played with horsehair bows. Beautifully clear and melodious flutes were made of animal horns and bones. The re-enactor at this display could play them all!
This big and extremely loud wooden Viking horn struck me as being very similar to a Swiss alpenhorn. Those Vikings did get around, you know.
The re-enactors also staged some fights to demonstrate shield wall techniques and the use of common Viking weapons (axes, spears, swords). Then they gave foam rubber swords to all the little kids in the audience, who viciously ambushed and defeated the unarmed Vikings in a mighty battle.
It goes without saying, of course, that the fiercest Viking couple was this threatening, fist-shaking pair in their helmets and warrior garb --
And no, that is not a floral motif on My Rare One's blouse. It is the freshly shed blood of her enemies.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
[All photos were taken by My Rare One, except for the last one which was taken by our buddies the Valhalla Valkyries.]