God Jul

God jul och gott nytt år — Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year — to our legions of Scandinavian readers (and my cousin who lives in Sweden).

Wolcum yole, and make good cheer
The image below, which was sent as a Christmas greeting from one of our Swedish readers, shows a fragment from the 11/12th century Baldishol Tapestry. The tapestry is likely the only surviving mediaeval tapestry of probable Norwegian origin. There is conjecture over the origins of the tapestry. As suggested by the heraldry on the shield, it might have been made in England or the north of France.

Actually a tapestry
Unlike the English-made Bayeux Tapestry, which is actually an embroidery, the Baldishol Tapestry is a full-colour tapestry woven from wool. The tapestry, which resembles a carpet, was constructed using the tricky Gobelin stitch-and-weave technique, which will be of interest to textiles enthusiasts. They say the colours are astonishing when seen up close.
How did it survive the moths?
Like many great and significant artefacts, the remnants of the tapestry, intended as a wall hanging, were salvaged by chance from the Baldishol church in Hedmark, Norway. The full tapestry is believed to have depicted motives representing the twelve months of the year. Only April and May survive. The tapestry was bought by a local family when the church was demolished in the 1870s. They bought what they thought was an old alter cloth, cleaned it and hung it on their wall. How did it survive the moths?

Pretty big
The tapestry is now housed in the Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo. The surviving fragments you see below measure over 6.5 feet by nearly 4 feet. Imagine the enormity of the original tapestry.


  1. What a beautiful tapestry, I love the spotty horse! Bit late now for Christmas, so have a wise Epiphany and a happy New Year

    1. Thanks Anon. Yes, I would like to see it in the flesh. Have a wonderful year. I've a good feeling about 2018. Best wishes, Tweedy


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