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Picture stone

Limestone picture stone with two motifs framed by knotted curling bands in a carved rope pattern following the outer edge of the stone. On the lower part there is a ship sailing forth over a storm-tossed sea and on the upper part a "welcome scene" with a fallen hero being received in Valhalla. The ship is decorated with carved ornamentation on the coiled bow. The crew consists of two men, dressed in what appears to be check-patterned outer garments. They are holding the sail filling them with wind while the man in the aft is gripping the powerful steering oar. This sail is rectangular, wider than it is high. The narrow bands running diagonally over the surface reveal that the sailcloth is composed of fabric pieces of different sizes. From the mast top diagonally over half the sail, the backstay can also be made out. In the welcome scene in the upper part of the stone a figure on horseback with shield and helmet is approaching a female figure. She is proffering a drinking horn. Above this there is a triquetra of simple design and a valknut with a more complex design. Between the ship and welcome scenes there is a heavily worn surface from which most of the motif and text has disappeared. Farthest or this on the right there is just a single figure in profile. The figure, who is wearing the same type of check patterned garment on his upper body as the two men on the ship, has its face turned away from the centre of the picture. Below this there is a horizontal looping band which previously contained a runic inscription but where only a few characters, whose meaning cannot be interpreted, are visible. It is impossible to know whether the scenes depict an actual event. Bearing in mind that the picture stone stood on a burial mound, it is possible that it was intended as a memorial of an expedition on the sea which went very wrong. Lillbjärs, Stenkyrka Parish, Gotland.

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Object number: 45167_HST

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