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Citations in Stone: The Material World of Hogbacks

  • Howard Williams (a1)
Abstract

This article explores a meshwork of citations to other material cultures and architectures created by the form and ornament of house-shaped early medieval recumbent stone monuments popularly known in Britain as ‘hogbacks’. In addition to citing the form and ornament of contemporary buildings, shrines, and tombs, this article suggests recumbent mortuary monuments referenced a far broader range of contemporary portable artefacts and architectures. The approach takes attention away from identifying any single source of origin for hogbacks. Instead, considering multi-scalar and multi-media references within the form and ornament of different carved stones provides the basis for revisiting their inherent variability and their commemorative efficacy by creating the sense of an inhabited mortuary space in which the dead are in dialogue with the living. By alluding to an entangled material world spanning Norse and Insular, ecclesiastical and secular spheres, hogbacks were versatile technologies of mortuary remembrance in the Viking Age.

Cet article traite des réseaux de citations issues de la forme et de la décoration de monuments en pierre du haut Moyen Age de forme allongée rappelant l'aspect d'une maison et connus en Grande-Bretagne sous le nom de ‘hogbacks’ (« à dos de porc ») et qui font référence à d'autres aspects de la culture matérielle et architecturale. En plus des citations qui rappellent les formes et à la décoration que l'on retrouve dans les bâtiments, sanctuaires et sépultures de la même période on peut avancer que les monuments funéraires en « hogback » font allusion à un éventail bien plus ample d'objets mobiliers et d’éléments d'architecture. Au lieu de chercher à identifier une source d'inspiration unique pour l'origine des pierres tombales en dos d’âne on préconisera une approche qui tient compte des formes et ornementations de ces pierres sculptées dans divers matériaux et à des échelles différentes; ceci permet de réexaminer leur variabilité intrinsèque et leur capacité d’évocation dans un milieu funéraire habité où les morts dialoguent avec les vivants. En faisant allusion à un univers matériel où les éléments norrois et insulaires, ecclésiastiques et séculaires s'entremêlaient, les « hogbacks » étaient une forme de technologie polyvalente de la mémoire. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

In diesem Artikel wird das Netzwerk der Zitierungen der Form und Verzierung von frühmittelalterlichen hausförmigen liegenden Steindenkmälern (die man in Großbritannien „hogbacks“, wörtlich Schweinsrücken, nennt), die sich auf andere Bestandteile der materiellen Kultur und Architektur beziehen untersucht. Es wird hier vorgeschlagen, dass, außer der Aufführung der Form und Ornamentierung von zeitgenössischen Gebäuden, Schreinen und Gräbern, die liegenden Grabdenkmäler sich auf eine viel breitere Auswahl von zeitgenössischen mobilen Gegenständen und architektonischen Elementen bezogen. Dieser Ansatz ermöglicht es, sich von der Identifizierung eines einzigen Ursprungs für die „hogbacks” zu entfernen. Stattdessen kann die Betrachtung von Zitierungsarten in der Form und Verzierung der Steine auf verschiedenen Skalenebenen und Medien die Grundlage einer Neubewertung ihrer Veränderlichkeit und Wirksamkeit Erinnerungen heraufzubeschwören schaffen, indem ein Gefühl für einen bewohnten Bereich, wo die Toten mit den Lebenden dialogieren konnten, erzeugt wird. Durch Erwähnung einer verwickelten Welt, die die nordischen und insularischen, kirchlichen und profanen Bereiche umfassten, stellten die „hogbacks” eine vielseitige Technologie der Erinnerung an die Toten dar. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

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