Graphics/ Linoleum: Standing on the shoulders of giants:
Read on for story....
This is a reconstruction of the motif from the stone on the book cover shown below. It is not a copy, as I've made some small changes in order to restore full symmetry and correct the inherent lines. Please note that I could certainly not have done this working in stone!
The stoneworker who originally engraved this stone was a true master of his craft, seeing how close to perfect symmetry he achieved on a very uneven (and very hard) surface, using no modern equipment. The colouring on the book cover is recent, I do not intend to duplicate this.
The original motif does not have a date. The stone was found in Aarhus, Denmark. It bears a runic inscription, translated:
"Gunulv and Øgot and Aslak and Rolf erected this stone after their fellow Ful. He found death ... when kings fought."
As these are runes, the above would be a riddle! It may even be magic. However, due to the assumed late date (800-1100CE, my own guess) the Christian custom of using stones to commemorate as insignificant matter as individuals may just have invaded these regions as well, in which case the message should perhaps just be taken literally as a memory over a person named Ful.
Of course I have my personal thoughts and ideas about the above. It could well be that some "Ful" once died, but ... in my own humble opinion, the spirit of Ful is not quite dead yet. Feel free to disagree.
The name "Ful" is Swedish. If Danish it would have been "Fæl". It is a nickname, meaning "ugly". The majority of these mask stones are found in Sweden. For more of these mask stones, visit this page (text in Norwegian).
Oh, and yes I read the book. It's from 1980, and obviously the author Else Roesdahl is an archaeologist, and very much so. It is a good book, albeit (very) coloured by her profession (it could have benefitted much from knowledge from other professions, as it spans a lot of topics - it's just so very clearly written by an archaeologist, and just that. Don't worry: a good one.) Some minor parts are of course outdated by more recent knowledge (but that would be expected in 35 years). I will keep the book for reference, as it has much "evergreen" content (as well as lots of margin notes by now), and I will recommend it for anyone interested in an archaeological view of Denmark (as defined roughly by current borders) circa 700-1000CE.
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