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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

    Cushion cover made of brocaded cotton.
    Bands of doll-like figures, ducks, zig-zags, and other motifs are brocaded on a natural coloured ground. The coloured brocading threads repeat in a sequence of black/ yellow/green/pink, and skip over three warps and under one, usually in alignment (the tie-downs being a distinct feature), but sometimes with the tie-down thread centred on the previous row. A plain ground weft is thrown between each brocading row. The brocaded bands are separated by either wide bands of weft-faced pink twill (3/1), or narrow ones of pink and green. Similar to AM1980,26.1


  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 42 centimetres (of material)
  • Curator's comments

    The donor’s grandfather collected the piece of material from which these two cushion covers were made when he was excavating in central America with the Swedish ethnographer C.V. Hartman in 1896-7. This makes the textile the second oldest in the collection. (See Cobán, Am1894,0926.7 for the oldest.) Museo Ixchel identified it as coming from Totonicapán.
    This style of brocading can be clearly seen in a detail of a huipil from Totonicapán in the Eisen collection (Schevill, 1993, 182).


  • Bibliography

    • Hecht 2001 p.22 bibliographic details
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: ESA26495

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