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Southwest Norway, Medieval Scandinavia and Ancient Genealogy

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Ira's Woodworking Projects


Chip Carvings: 2012 thru 2015

Most of my wood carvings are inspired by Nordic designs, especially Viking carvings. There are also Celtic influences, which were often similar between Nordic and Celtic.

All items are hand carved by Ira Lund, although some were constructed by Lusk Scandia Woodworks





Knitting Box and Jewelry Boxes





Norwegian Mangle Boards (2012-2015)

A Mangle Board was used throughout Scandinavia as an ironing board before hot irons were introduced. In Norway, Mangle boards were intricately carved and served as a love token or betrothal gift from the husband to his sweetheart.

A man would carve a mangeltre (or mangle board) and leave it at the door of his intended. If she took it in, the proposal was accepted. If it was left, he had been rejected. A rejected mangeltre could not be reused. Thus the old Norwegian saying "Beware the man with many mangle boards."

Almost all mangle boards had a horse carved in the handle - symbolizing fertility - ie. many children!

Far Left Mangle Board

"Rage" - pronounced with a hard G - was the original farm of my mother's paternal ancestry in Norway.

Far Right Mangle Board

The stylized anamorphic design at the top of the nearby carved board (right side) was copied from a Viking runestone found at Resmo, Sweden on the island of Oland. The nearby Resmo Church was built in the early 11th century and it is one of the oldest churches still used in Sweden today.

The Celtic knot pattern was "inspired" by an old Viking helmet nose guard discovered by archaeologists in York, England. York was founded as Jorvik by Vikings who ruled Northumberland during the middle ages. The actual nose guard, although it used Celtic knot work, it is not exactly of the same pattern as I carved on this mangle board.



Scandinavian Mangle Board
Urnes Design

Carved by Ira Lund, Jun 2015

The design on this board was inspired by the carvings on the side of the famous Urnes Stave Church, built about 1130 AD, by one of my ancestors Gaut Aalesson of Urnes.





Scandinavian Mangle Board
Hylestad Design

Carved by Ira Lund, Jun 2015

The design of this board was derived from the Hylestad Stave Church door (right hand side), which is now in the Museum of Cultural History, Olso, Norway.

Three scenes depict the story of the Sigurd Legend from the Volsunga saga. (In Germany the story is in the Nibelungenlied). Starting at the bottom is Sigurd and Regin forging the sword Gram. The second scene is Sigurd holding the sword. In the third Sigurd slays the dragon Fafnir with Gram.




Norwegian Stavkirke on Plaque

Stave Churches were a common medieval wooden Christian church building, primarily found in Norway. The name derives from the building's load-bearing posts which are called "stafr" in Old Norse, stav in modern Norwegian.

As many as 1000-2000 such churches were built in Norway alone. Others were also built in Iceland, Sweden, and even in Germany. Today there are only about 30 still standing in Norway. Several replicas have been built in the USA:

  1. Boynton Chapel at Bjorklunden in Door County, Wisconsin
  2. Chapel in the Hills in Rapid City, South Dakota
  3. Hopperstad stave church (replica) at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minnesota
  4. Little Norway, Wisconsin
  5. Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota.
  6. St. Swithun's in Warren County, Indiana
  7. Trinity Lutheran Church on Washington Island, Wisconsin
  8. Norway Pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Florida

The nearby carving on basswood was based on the Church in Minot, North Dakota.




Candleholders

This pair of Candle Sconces was carved in memory of my paternal and maternal ancestry, both from Scandinavia.

My father's paternal ancestry was from Denmark, represented by a Viking Ship and map of Denmark, showing the "Lund" surname. The Lund surname only goes back on my pure paternal line for 3 generations prior to myself, as my great-grandfather, Mogens Hans Lund, took his surname from his mother - not his father. Her ancestry may have taken the Lund surname from a farm named Lund (meaning Grove of Trees) on an island north of Trondheim, Norway, as it seems possible that a few generations prior to Mogens Hans' mother, the family had migrated to Denmark from Norway.

My mother's ancestry was from Rogaland, Norway, represented by a Stavkirke (Stave Church) which was common during the middle ages in Norway and a map of Norway showing my mother's maiden name Rage, which came from the Rage farm near Hole, Rogaland. Her father was Johan Severin Svendsen Rage - whose paternal ancestry once lived at the Rage farm. It is believed that the Rage farm name comes from the term "rak" which is the stony rubble near the farm which perhaps were created by wind and waves from the nearby Ragsvatnet lake. The Rage farm is situated at the upper end of the lake.

The two candles accompanying the sconces are from 100% pure beeswax taken from my own bee hives in my backyard.


Dragon Chest








Yggdrasil Bench (Fall 2013)






Yggdrasil, Norsk Tree of Life
Sep 2013

Yggdrasil, the cosmic Ash Tree from Norse mythology, whose branches extend far into the heavens and unites the nine worlds. The tree is supported by three roots that drink the waters of three of the nine worlds: one is the homeworld of the gods, the Aesir, one is the homeworld of the giants, the Jotnar, and one is the homeworld of the dead. Perched at the top of the tree is Vethrfolnir, a hawk, who sits between the eyes of an unnamed eagle. Four stags by name Dainn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Durathror eat among the branches, while the squirrel Ratatoskr carries messages between the unnamed eagle and Nidhoggr (the wyrm or dragon) that resides at the root of the world tree.


Carved Plates






HNEFATAFL - Viking Game (Nov 2013)


Tafl games are a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy board games played on a checkered or latticed gameboard with two armies of uneven numbers, representing variants of an early Scandinavian board game called tafl or hnefatafl in contemporary literature.

Hnefatafl was a popular game in medieval Scandinavia and was mentioned in several of the Norse Sagas. The rules of the game were never explicitly recorded, and only playing pieces and fragmentary boards are extant, so it is not known for sure how the game was played. It became a popular game in Northern Europe during the Viking era (end of the 8th century to 1000 C.E), a turbulent time full of conflicts. When chess during the Middle Ages became a popular game, Hnefatafl was forgotten as time passed. Hnefatafl was particularly popular in Nordic countries and followed the Viking civilization to other parts of Europe.

Today, Hnefatafl is kept alive by the Hnefatafl World Championship games held annually in Fetlar in the Shetland Islands north of Scotland.

Click here to go to the Hnefatafl World Championship website.



Nordic Angel Cross-Stitch
By Ira Lund, Dec 2013 thru Jan 2014
About 300-400 hours to cross-stitch pattern
Basswood Frame made and carved by Ira Lund






Intarsia Fox

Made from 6 exotic woods (all natural wood colors - no stains used):
1. Bloodwood: Main body
2. Basswood: Chest and underbelly
3. Zebrawood (or Macassar Ebony): Base that fox is standing on
4. Granadillo: Tail and legs
5. Figured Zebrawood: part of ears and eyes
6. African Blackwood: nose, eyes





Rune Sampler

Frame carved by Ira Lund, Cross-stitch by Ira Lund. Top of frame in runes "Rune Sampler". At bottom is my name in runes.

Runes are a set of alphabets used in several Nordic and Germanic Countries prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet. The Nordic variants are commonly called futhark - derived from the first 6 letters of the alphabet (which can be seen as the top first six letters in the cross-stitch nearby).

The earliest runes date from about 150 AD and were replaced by the Latin alphabet in northern Europe by about 1100 AD. Most rune inscriptions were on stones (runestones) or sticks as short inscriptions only. Long texts or books really do not exist.


Norwegian Cabinet (2014)








Valkyrie (2015)

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Folkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar. When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarok, the valkyries bear them mead.


Nordic Horses (2015)




Nordic Wood Carving Video (8.5 min)

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