Gripping Beast Pendant
This curious pendant is a combination of two finds of the gripping beast from the Viking Age.
The gripping beast is a modern term for a viking art motif that thrived in the 9th and 10th centuries. Spirited, humourous animals gripping themselves or other things around them - they are a fascinating and exhuberant expression of the Viking Age. They survived for a century and a half, carved in many different forms by Viking craftsmen. Yet, for all that, their meaning remains a mystery.
Yet who could deny that they stand as witness to the viking sense of humour?
I have used a little amber figure found in Norway, with its feet wrapped around its neck, as the basis for my own gripping beast pendant. I have then added details from a viking brooch now in Saint Petersburg, covered in these grinning goblins cheerfully biting on their own fingers.