A Viking padlock
Inv. Nr.: 8015
Dimensions: 5 x 5,5 x 3 cm
This iron Viking padlock is one of six locks in the Schell Collection. According to the seller, the lock was found in Montenegro. The lock body has a trapezoidal shape and is slightly exposed downwards. The two side panels are slightly overlapping and are decorated with three stylistically braided ribbons at the edge and in the middle. While the one side has two small holes in the upper area, the sides of which have been thickened by small, rectangular platelets, on the other side a winding band is fastened, which is curved into a loop.
The graceful eyelet suggests that the lock was attached to something by means of a chain. At the front, the keyhole can be seen in the inverted T-shape. The shackle stretches from a narrow tube from the back, swinging onto the top of the lock. The movable cover can still be intimated which slid when locking into the lock body. Through the keyhole, you can look inside the lock. There are two springs that hold the shackle in the lock.
The Viking lock can thus be locked with an expander spring mechanism. The original key however, was lost over the years. The key was inserted once through the keyhole, followed the course upwards and finally pressed the springs together, so that they could be released from the lock together with the top plate and bracket.
Inv. Nr.: 6989
In the Schell Collection, there is a Viking-key which might not have fit into this, but in a similar Viking lock. The iron key has a rectangular shape and has two rectangular holes. These holes pushed the springs of the shackle together by the movement of the key. The bronze handle of the key is elongated and thickened in the upper third. It was decorated with a series of stylized birds. A wire ring hangs on the bronze shaft. The front and back of the shaft are decorated. According to the seller of the key, this was found in the Thames, near the old London Bridge.
The fact that the lock originates from South West Europe and the key was found in Northern Europe, already shows that the Vikings were widespread. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Vikings sailed from Scandinavia to various parts of the continent. The beginning of the Viking era was marked by the attack on the monastery island of Lindisfarne on the English north coast in 793. From then on, seafaring was undertaken, a network of commerce was established and political relations were maintained. The end of the era is marked by the year 1066. In that year, the battles of Stanford Bridge and Hastings took place, where the English king Harold Godwinson first defeated the Norwegian army of Harald, the Harten, but later on fell at Hastings against the Norman army under the leadership of Wilhelm, the Bastard – later Wilhelm, the Conqueror. In the same year, the trading centre of the Vikings, Haithabu was completely destroyed and burnt down by Slavic armies in today’s Schleswig (Germany).
In the 21st century, the image of the Vikings has been transfigured. On the one hand, they are portrayed as wild and courageous, but barbaric pirates, on the other hand as free adventurers who travelled to America. This is because the sources do not allow a clear picture of the Vikings. Graves and fragments, literary texts, and, finally, the mystical image of the people, in combination with imaginative documentaries, have reduced the Vikings to a difficult to characterize people. The fact is that the Old Norse word “víkingr” means pirates or sea-going warriors. Today, however, the term “Scandinavia” refers to the entire population of Scandinavia from the end of the 8th to the middle of the 11th century.
Previous exhibits of the month: