Monday, 20 August 2012

Viking Designs - review

ISBN 13: 9780486404691 ISBN 10: 0486404692

Like most design books published by Dover, Viking Designs by A.G. Smith contains pages upon pages of black and white viking clip art. The publisher has also included an additional note which gives a enough of a background so as to furnish the lay reader with appropriate terminology to research later. "Borre-style pieces often show creatures with bulging eyes, triangular forward facing heads and large ears whereas Jellinge-style pieces the heads are slender, shown in profile and nearly always sport pigtails."
The book has 44 pages of images which range from interpretations of carved stone and wooden implements such as bedposts to tapestry and sword hilts. The clipart is clear and well drawn but due to their nature they cannot communicate placement and use of stones or enamel. Captions are frustratingly brief. Some objects are titled such as the Sutton Hoo items, however there is no list of extant sources. I would LOVE to see this book reprinted with the interpretation side by side with the original artificat. The scientist in me also wants these diagrams to come with a scale.
A good book for those wanting inspiration for Viking themed craft-work or someone just starting to research the Viking period. A mediocre book for someone wanting a good reference book for historical research.


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