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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.

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  • Object type

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  • Description

    Embroidered skirt (with drawstring) made of cloth, thread (silk). Jaspe thread is used for both warp and weft in stripes of varying width. The seams on the skirt are covered with wide colourful randas in pinks/reds/mauve silk floss and stranded cotton.

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Curator's comments

    The skirts worn in Quezaltenango, and illustrated in Rowe, Pettersen (1976, 119), and Osborne and Wood (1966, 114) are very full, made with 6m or more of material and gathered up at the waist by a cord run through a casing. The gathers are encouraged to form by the way the skirt is stored. ‘The drawstring is pulled tight and the whole twisted... then folded in half and the drawstring wrapped around the hem to secure it’ (Rowe, 1981, 109).
    Am1980,27.149 is labelled ‘made in Salcajá’, a small town outside Quezaltenango that specialises in jaspe dyeing.


  • Bibliography

    • Hecht 2001 p.15 bibliographic details
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  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

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Object reference number: ESA121357

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