Proto-Bronze Age: rectilinear designs following the Neolithic traditions of the Nordic culture.
Early Bronze Age: transition to geometric spiral ornament.
Middle Bronze Age: the spiral ornament gives place to star patterns.
Late Bronze Age: the star patterns in turn are replaced by spiral whorls and bands of wavy lines; the decoration becomes less rigidly geometric and begins to incorporate vegetable forms (tendrils and foliage).
Rich assemblages of grave goods have been found in burial mounds, particularly at Uppsala and Seddin. The existence of a solar cult is reflected in numerous representations of solar discs, as in the Trundholm sun chariot”, a waggonshaped cult utensil found in a bog near Nykobing in 1902: 60 cm (2 ft) long, it dates from between 1500 and 1300 B.C.
Rock carvings at Tanum (southwest Sweden)
The representational art of the Bronze Age is known to us only in the Germanic rock carvings of southern Sweden and Norway schematic figures of cultic significance, solemn processions, ritual contests, trains of sledges, ships, pilgrims. Although the detailed interpretation of these carvings is still the subject of dispute, they are undoubtedly connected with fertility rites. The Scandinavian carvings are among the finest of the kind to be found anywhere. There are also a number of figural representations on funerary monuments (the King’s Grave at Kivik in Skane).
The carvings depict solar wheels, weapons, schematic figures wearing cloaks or bound with chains; here too the interpretation of the figures is disputed.
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