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The Valkyries' LoomThe Archaeology of Cloth Production and Female Power in the North Atlantic$
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Michèle Hayeur Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066622

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066622.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

“Cold Are the Counsels of Women”

“Cold Are the Counsels of Women”

Bloodied Warps and Gilded Wefts The Engendered Economy of Cloth in the North Atlantic

(p.12) 1 “Cold Are the Counsels of Women”
The Valkyries' Loom

Michèle Hayeur Smith

University Press of Florida

The poem Darraðarljoð, from Njál's Saga, describes the Valkyries – Óðin's female warrior spirits – weaving the fates of men and nations on a warp-weighted loom with severed heads as its weights. They weave the entrails of men as the warp and weft threads of the cloth of history that they produce and tear up decide the fates of men and nations.I will use this poem as a framework through which to introduce key attitudes and sentiments about weaving in Norse societies during the Viking Age, within which the poem is set, and in the Medieval period, when it was written. The poem will be deconstructed to introduce the book's main players – women and weaving – and to approach symbolic and mythic views through which textile production, as a woman's art, was associated with fate and the control of social reproduction.

Keywords:   loom, fate, weaving, woman’s art, Viking Age

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