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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

 

Painted wooden mask in the form of a wolf


Painted wooden mask in the for


Length: 25.000 cm

AOA Ethno 1939.Am11.3


Such clan headdresses are worn in ceremonial dances at 'potlatches' or feasts by native peoples of the Northwest Coast. Dance regalia is worn during performances and ceremonies which celebrate life-cycle events such as births, naming ceremonies, marriages and the memorial potlatches of prominent chiefs.

John Swanton, the American anthropologist working a century ago, recorded an Aesop-like fable about the origin of the Wolf crest. A member of the Kaagwaantaan clan, of the Eagle moiety or section of the Tlingit, came across a wolf. He seemed to be smiling, but looking closer the man saw that he had had something stuck between his teeth. This he removed, and the wolf disappeared, but then reappeared in a dream. Since then the Kaagwaantaan have used the wolf as a crest. The headdress would have been worn with cedar bark and mountain goat wool twined textiles; such regalia is passed down in the female line, that is from maternal uncle to nephew.