Mammen Embroideries

Stem stitch embroidery with human masks, from Mammen, Denmark, c. 970 Stem stitch embroidery with human masks, from Mammen, Denmark, c. 970

The Mammen embroideries were discovered in 1868 at the mound of Bjerringhøj, near the village of Mammen, near Viborg, Denmark. The site has become particularly famous for the discovery of the so-called 'Mammen axe'.The embroideries and other finds were discovered in a chamber-grave of a man who was buried in the winter of AD 970-971.

The deceased was buried dressed in richly embroidered garments, and his corpse rested on a blue woollen cushion, also embroidered. The embroideries are in red, blue and yellow, and executed in close rows of stem stitch. There are various motifs, including human masks (see illustration) and a twining vine, but also a bird and an opposed pair of animals. The woollen cushion has embroidery worked over a seam, creating a wide strip with a plaited appearance, worked with a herringbone stitch.

The finds from Mammen are now housed in the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


  • JONES, heather Rose (2002, 2005). Embroidery from the Tenth Century Viking Grave at Mammen Denmark. Click here for downloading.
  • MUNKSGAARD, Elisabeth. 1984. 'The Embroideries from Bjerringhøj, Mammen,' Festskrift til Thorleif Sjøvold på 70-årsdagen, ed. Mari Høgestøl et al. Universitetets Oldsaksamlings Skrifter Ny rekke 5. Oslo: Universitetets Oldsaksamling.

National Museum of Denmark, online catalogue (retrieved 25th October 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 25th October 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 21 May 2017 15:28