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Borre style

This Viking art style was popular from the later ninth to mid-tenth centuries in areas settled by the Vikings - from Dublin and York to Novgorod in Russia. Metalwork decorated in this style, which takes its name from a find at Borre, in Vestfold, Norway, was still being buried in hoards of the late tenth century. More or less symmetrical animals with full-face, cat-like, triangular heads, large round eyes and prominent ears are typical of the style. They are often shown with arched, ribbon bodies, their paws gripping their own necks and limbs and surrounding frames, like the so-called Gripping Beast of earlier styles. Plaited knots and ring-chain patterns are also common, the ridges of designs in metalwork are often nicked to imitate the filigree wire used on the finest pieces. Sometimes plant motifs were adopted from Carolingian art.

Borre Style was mainly employed to decorate jewellery, belt-fittings and woodwork: for example, on the metalwork from Borre and the Gokstad ship, buried around 900-905. It is probably the earliest known Viking style in the British Isles and occurs on sculpture in the Isle of Man, such as the rune-inscribed cross-slab from Kirk Michael and on the Gosforth cross in Cumbria.

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