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The Ladby Tapestry

The Ladby Tapestry is a 7 meter long embroidery that tells the story of the Ladby ship, Denmark’s only known Viking ship grave. The tapestry is based partly on the discovery of The Ladby Ship in 1934 and partly on Norse mythology and the meeting between the ancient Asa faith and Christianity. It is structured as 7 stories, and you can “read” it from end to end like a cartoon. The middle piece of the wallpaper tells the story of The Ladby Ship, while the two friezes at the top and bottom are about the shipbuilding of the Viking Age.

The Ladby Tapestry is permanently exhibited at the Viking Museum Ladby. In addition to the wallpaper in its full showing, you can see examples of sample cloths and a film about the creation of the wallpaper. In the “leaf book” you can discover various technical details, get to know more about the history, and meet the embroiderers.

In the museum shop you can buy a leaflet in Danish, English, German, and French that details the work on the wallpaper. You can also buy a coloring book where the Tapestry’s illustrations can be colored. In addition, a catalog has been made with the tapestry’s seven stories, which can be purchased in the museum shop.


Shoulder by shoulder, they created The Ladby Tapestry

In 2011, inspired by the famous Bayeux tapestry, which relates the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a group of female sewing enthusiasts set out to embroider a tapestry that would tell the story of The Ladby Ship. They established a tapestry guild consisting of 16 embroiderers, the designer Gudrun Katrine Heltoft and Anette Nørgaard Bogulski who dyed the yarn with natural vegetable dyes in a multitude of delicate colours.

It took the embroiderers six years to complete the tapestry, which is 7 metres long and 50 cm high. To be precise, the last stitch was done on 8 July 2017. The work on the tapestry took place ‘live’ in a room at the Viking Museum. The embroiderers sat shoulder to shoulder with the tapestry on their laps, so throughout the entire process visitors to the museum could watch them at work.

The Ladby Tapestry reads like a comic strip – the centrepiece tells the story of The Ladby Ship. The friezes at the top and bottom show how a Viking ship was built and how the sail and rigging were made. The shipbuilding is interwoven with mythological figures, burial gifts and contemporary detector finds. Finally, we see the tapestry’s artist, the dyer and the embroiderers.


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