What just happened?

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


Munakata Shikō, 'Kanaya' (Kanaya), a woodblock print

Munakata Shikō, Kanaya

© 2001 Yoshiaki Munakata

Height: 630.000 mm
Width: 480.000 mm

Asia JA 1981.7-30.012

From the series 'Munakata's Prints of the Tōkaidō Highway' (Tōkaidō Munakata Hanga)

In March 1963, at the age of sixty, Munakata was comissioned by the Suruga Bank to make a series of Tōkaidō prints. In the course of the next year he went on numerous field trips for this project, producing sixty-two designs, some in black and white, some with hand-colouring.

For 'Kanaya', a view of the post-station roughly half way along the Tōkaidō, colour has been painted by hand from both the front and the back of the sheet. The hand-colouring for each impression is radically different; each impression has a subtitle in the margin which presumably reflects the differences in colouring. Here it reads 'Evening peak of the heart' (kyōkin bogaku). In his diary-commentary about the series the artist describes coming over a pass from the west and suddenly seeing the vast view of the ōi River below with Fuji rising up beyond: 'My heart opened up - it was as splendid as can be' (Nantomo subarashii ni tsukiru kyōkin gyōkai deshita).