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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


Tosa Mitsunari, Monk Saigyō, a hanging scroll painting

Tosa Mitsunari, Monk Saigyō, a

Detail: signature and seals

Detail: signature and seals

Height: 961.000 mm
Width: 391.000 mm

Asia JA JP 113 (1881.12-10.0204)

'This Japanese scroll painting refers back in time to the Heian period some 500 years earlier, and has a timeless quality. This shows a very different kind of gateway from the Egyptian false door. It is a simple gateway in a garden wall. A spatial illusion is created through a projection of the geometry of the boundary fence and the building. The floating clouds overlay this space and create atmosphere.

There is a beautiful dialogue between the world beyond the gate, inhabited by the Buddhist monk, and the finely drawn interior situated beyond. There is a strong sense of events taking place just out of sight in the room. The delicate strings of a partly-seen musical instrument evoke the very sounds, and the mood of the scene is further established by the pervading moonlight.'
John Maine 2002

On display: Room 69a