Eastern type viking sword chape bird and trequeta type

Eastern type viking sword chape bird and trequeta type

Viking coin

This sword chape - found in western Latvia - is also of a very rare type. It is one half of a chape. Two halves were casted and attached together with lead. Due to soil conditions, the lead could have been corroded or dissapeared, leaving the chape seperated in one half. Peter Paulsen has catagorized this kind of sword chape among the bird type sword chapes of the Viking Age, Örtbander mit germanischer Vögelmotiv.  With a bit of phantasy a bird like form can be seen, with the head of the bird formed by a trequetaform motif. The trequeta is a very old  Indo-European religious sign. Many religions consider the number 3 as a holy number. The trequeta sign had been found as interlacing circles on 5000 year old Indian religious statues. In Europe the trequeta symbol was found much later, from the 8th century A.D. The motif is being found - for example - on the coin die of the Viking kingdom of York on the so called 'trequeta pennies'

Similar examples had been found in Oxhöft and Löbertshoff in Poland. Andrzej Janowski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archeaology and Ethnology, mentioned a found of this type from Podzamce near Kwidzyn. From recent date two finds are known from Netno and Tur (also Poland), excavated in 2010 and 2015. Another example is known to me in the collection of Ru Smith (link attached in the references).

One can say that only app. 10 examples known, this is a rare kind of Viking Age sword chape type!


Janowski, A., Gotland chape with the Tree of Life image from Szczecin's Podzamcze (Suburbium)


Janowski, A., Bronze and silver chapes from the 10th - 13th century swords from the territory of Poland, p. 29

Paulsen, P., Schwertortbänder der Wikingerzeit, 1953

p.17 1. Ortbänder mit germanischen Vogelmotiv and further: p. 22 - 29 Untergruppe b.

p. 21 image 8 and 9.


Viking kingdom of York trequeta type penny.



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