Sport Antiques

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"Birch Legs" Skiing Brooch


Category: Alpine, Wintersports & Mountaineering - Antique

Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child.
An unusual brooch with a scene of skiing Vikings, 'The Birch Legs'. The Norwegian Sterling Brooch is hallmarked '830 S' and is of a very fine casting. Impressed around the outer edge is 'BIRKEBEINERNE FORE DEN UNGE HAAKON HAAKONSSON PAA SKI TIL THRONDHJEM', translated 'THE BIRCH LEGS SAVE YOUNG HAAKON HAAKONSSON ON SKIS TO TRONDHEIM'. The historic Norwegian event captured on this brooch is of the rescue of King Haakon's infant son Haakon Haakonsson. When King Haakon died his young son was in perilous danger from the unrest and civil war in Norway. He was rescued by two `Birkebeinerne' (thus named because they used birch bark to wrap around their feet and legs) who skied through treacherous conditions on skis to Trondheim to safeguard the infant, Trondheim then the capital of Norway. This boy prince became King Haakon lV and is credited with uniting the country and creating peace and harmony.

The superb detail of the two fleeing Viking warriors in full battle armour, on skis, and with the baby prince swaddled in their cloak, shows amazing depth and clarity. The image appears to be taken directly from the 1869 painting 'Birkebeinerne' by Scandinavian artist Knud Larsen Bergslien which is located at The Ski Museum, Holmenkollen, Oslo, Norway.

Engraved on the back of the brooch ' Säster Anna, Erindringfra Tru Sjunnesson'.
1914 continental silver.

  • Year: 1914
  • Dimensions:
    Dia. 6.5cm
    Dia. 2½"

  • Reference Number: 26349