Discovery and dating
The Överhogdal tapestries were found in the vestry of Överhogdal Church by Jonas Holm (1895-1986) in 1909. The tapestries were brought to Östersund by the artist Paul Jonze in 1910, and the County Governor’s wife Ellen Widén, who was a dominant figure within the regional heritage movement at the time, took charge. The first thing she did was to give the dirty linen a good wash in a bath tub in the cellar.
Description and construction
The Överhogdal tapestries have been theorized as depicting imagery of both Norse and Christian origin. The contents of the pictures are much debated, some characters have a pagan content, featuring the detailed look of Odin's horse Sleipner, while other characters are clearly part of Christian imagery. The four surviving sections of the tapestries have 323 figures of people and 146 and 3 partial animals, all generally moving to the left.
The large animal and smaller human figures seem to rush by a tree, which could be the mighty ash Yggdrasil, a massive tree central to nine worlds in Norse mythology. Some scholars have suggested that what is shown is the Christianization of the region Härjedalen. However, today the dominant theory, given the radiocarbon dating of the tapestries, is that Ragnarök, a series of events foretold to occur in Norse mythology, is being depicted. Research has established that the figures are made of plant dyed wool, which is interwoven with the linen with a special technique.
- Göransson, Eva-Marie (1995). "Människor i Rum av Id: Bilder av Kvinnor och män på Överhogdal". Fornvännen (Swedish National Heritage Board) 90: 129–138. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Nordanskog, Gunnar (2006). Föreställd Hedendom: Tidigmedeltida Skandinaviska Kyrkportar i Forskning och Historia. Lund: Nordic Academic Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-91-89116-85-6.
- Schön, Ebbe. (2004). Asa-Tors hammare, Gudar och jättar i tro och tradition. Fält & Hässler, Värnamo. p. 50. ISBN 91-89660-41-2
- Kaliff, Anders (1998). "Recensioner". Fornvännen (Swedish National Heritage Board) 93: 54–56. Retrieved 2 June 2010. (reviewing Wikman, Sture (1996). Fenrisulven Ränner: En Bok om Vävarna från Överhogdal. Jämtland Museum. ISBN 91-7948-118-3.)