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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Carving of Queen Victoria

Carving of Queen Victoria

Height: 37.000 cm
Width: 12.000 cm
Depth: 14.000 cm

Donated by H.V.A. Lambert

AOA 1988.Af12.1

This figure of Queen Victoria was made by a Yoruba carver. She is shown standing and with her head enlarged in relation to her body. Her face is youthful, and beneath her dress the artist has imaginatively carved a pair of shoes.

During the nineteenth century Africans faced colonisation as European armies fought to establish their own empires, and Nigeria came under British rule. Official and unofficial photographs of Queen Victoria were widely reproduced across Nigeria and other countries in the British empire. These were probably used for reference by skilled Yoruba carvers. The resulting three-dimensional figures of the Queen, of which this is one, included European details of dress and posture created within existing Yoruba carving conventions.