Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hove Stone Church, at Vik. Dragons under the eaves.

Stave churches, stone churches.  

Dragons Under the Eaves at Hove Stone Church;
Horse Head Talisman near the Roof.
Hove Stone Church, and Hopperstad Stave Church.
Both at Vik

I.  Background.  Hove:  Place of cult.  Place of cult activity, such as burials, administration, may be a building, maybe not. Hove, hof, horgr, haug, hov, ve, vang. Prechristian. Now, Hove Stone Church, built at such a place by virtue of the name designation. A Hove, a farm used for purposes of the religious life, See http://christianization.hist.cam.ac.uk/regions/norway/norway-pagan-non-christ.html/.  Widingh, Widinghof, surnames with Germanic-Scandinavian cult roots, see http://swedenroadways.blogspot.com/2010/07/did-wid-of-saxon-origin-have-legs.html. See FN 1

Hove Stone Church, at Vik.


In shape, without stucco or paint, this Hove Stone Church looks like other stone churches of the era.  See FN 2/  The gate is a lych gate, originally used for resting the bier before burial. See Saxon origins of the word, and customary use of the term in Britain, for example.

II.  Horse head as talisman, safeguard, magical protection

Hove, without stucco, shows a fortress-like structure, small windows, high up.  Hove adds another element:  the horse head icon, or figure, near the roof, higher than a window, just under the eave. The horse's head has roots in many pre-Christian religions, cult activities and other significance, and not only in Scandinavia, northern or other Europe. 

The horse in religious belief. 

See Horses' Heads as Talismans, http://www.sacred-texts.com/etc/mhs/mhs15.htm/  It could signify dedication of the building to religious purposes, or, as to a home, an act of homage to a deity. Face east: homage to a good deity; face west, homage to an evil one. Which direction is this? Judging from the shadow and our time of day at Hove, early afternoon, this horse head looks facing east?


  • Query: Does this mean that the horse head found in bed in The Godfather has a significance whether it was facing east or west?
Look back at Roskilde, Denmark and its Cathedral with the horse burial at the altar, see http://denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/2010/09/roskilde-cathedral-who-is-buried-there.html/  Thrones and powers went back and forth among Danes, Swedes and Norse for centuries.  Old beliefs slid by.  We still venerate the horse's shoe, keep its points up to hold the luck; and other elements of horse.  Travel on your own can lead to these connections, far more than canned tourist buses. Is that so? But it takes a gifted Down Syndrome son to make these two on the loose trips possible. Salute to Dan the Man.


III. Under the eaves:  Sea motifs, and a wonderful winged dragon.  

How close to an original, or was this added?  The dragon motif is common on the oldest, least "reformed" stave churches.  Need information.


The dragons here are splendid, but do they match too closely each other, as though mass-produced. Not really, if you look close.  Are the differences in weathering, or because each was carved independently of the other. Look at the wings. No mere archangel can compete with these winged dragons.  Sites do not give us enough detail to explore these particular dragons, so far, see http://www.spottinghistory.com/view/3287/hove-church/


For the place of dragons in Norwegian traditional life, back then, go to The Collected Poems of Henrik Ibsen, translated by John Northam, and do a "find" for dragons, see http://ibsen.nb.no/asset/34498/1/34498_1.pdf

Keep your eyes under the eaves at Hove.  Masterful designs.


The rhythm of eaves:  under them, at Hove Stone Church, Vik, Norway.  To see Hove from the road, away a ways, is to go ho-hum, another stone church.  This one, however, retains, or added back (or are they totally imagined??) design and symbol features worth a special trip.


Cross on a lower eave, Hove Stone Church, Norway.




IV,  Bishop's Cross, equal sided

Was this cross at the entry to Hove, on the wall at the gateway, or was this from Vik Hopperstad? Both sites boast fine walls where a cross form would be likely. Notes not clear here.  The freestanding Bishop's shape cross in silhouette at the Hopperstad site, however, is clearly identified by the graveyard also shown, and the church itself.




Poor record keeping is the bane of all amateurs.

V.  Weathervane on top of Hove Stone Church:

What is this form?  Is it a ship, perhaps, sails down?  Not sure.


Find Norwegian weathervanes, including one like this, but without explanation, at http://ginniehart.blogspot.com/2011/05/norway-weathervanes-etc.html/.  Christian weather vanes: a topic during WWII, sermon bit from 1943 during the German Occupation, see http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/TCOG/TCOG19431201-V30-12__B.pdf/  In summary, the message is that no matter how the wind blows, etc.


Hove Stone Church.  Different design, as others in Norway, without the stucco here as was added elsewhere, but this is a private church, not built for a lowly community.  Hove was an area of chieftains, wealth, and so the building began.

Hove Stone Church, Vik, Norway


 Roofed gateways. Symbolism or just custom, defining a turf? Often seen in Norway.  See http://norwayroadways.blogspot.com/2013/09/kvam-area-hills-and-mountains-turf.html; and http://norwayroadways.blogspot.com/2013/09/kvam-area-hills-and-mountains-turf.html/.  These are recurrent themes. 

Then, back up the mountain, looking back on Vik, and Hove.  A trip highlight.

....................................................................................

FN 1.

Hof, Hove. Derivations of place names. These names is a form used for farms, places for religious activity pre-Christian.

Materials used for churches constructed on cult sites: Is the choice of material for a building, as stone or wood, an issue of rich man, building the stone church; and ordinary man, building the stave church? Or was the more durable material put on top of old cult places, to keep them down.  If so, just like today.  Build what you can afford, to glorify who or whom, impress, overcome, supersede.

Hove boasts the stone church, a private construction (still used for services) in an area beside Vik, and from findings from burial mounds: a place of wealth, chieftains. Vik, just down the road toward the fjord, is wood.
  • At the same time that hundreds of wooden stave churches were built when Norway converted to institutional Christianity (12th Century, give or take); stone churches like this were also built. The architectural styles between the two forms differ. Here at Vik, there is both: a fine stave church, Hopperstad; and a stone church, same era, at Hove, just up the hill. Is Hove part of Vik now? See overview at http://vikjavev.no/omvik/
  • These names is a form used for farms, hov stands for Is the choice of material for a building, stone or wood, an issue of rich man, building the stone church; and ordinary man, building the stave church?  If so, just like today.  Build what you can afford, to glorify who or whom.  Hove boasts the stone church, a private construction in an area beside Vik, and from findings from burial mounds: a place of wealth, chieftains. Vik, just down the road toward the fjord, is wood.


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FN 2 Comparative stone churches, 12-13th Centuries

See, as comparison to Hove,

a) the church at Skaun, from the area inspiring the novel, Kristin Lavrandsatter, see http://norwayroadways.blogspot.com/2011/11/kristin-lavransdatter-sigrid-undset.htm. See also  http://norwayroadways.blogspot.com/2011/11/kristin-lavransdatter-sigrid-undset.html; and http://norwayroadways.blogspot.com/2013/11/skaun-church-but-husaby-was-older.html 



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