Belinda Esperson

Nationalmuseet Copenhagen

Last but certainly not least in my list of Copenhagen highlights is the National Museum near the centre of the city. It doesn’t look much from the outside – looks like it would be a dusty old museum – but inside is light and airy and full of amazing things, beautifully displayed. It even has a good organic restaurant/café.

The biggest and most popular section is Danish Prehistory on the first floor – covering Stone Age 12500BC through to Vikings and Rune stones at 1050AD.  I spent over 4 hours just in this section – only leaving because the kids were hungry. I can’t resist cabinets full of artifacts: stone axe heads, bone spears ancient tools, etc. I love both the repetition and the slight variation of form and texture. It was all so beautifully displayed and explained in both Danish and English.

But the highlight for me was the stunning amber jewellery and carvings dating from around 6500BC. So simple, organic and beautiful. I love that they used simple drilled holes to make patterns in the same way I do in metal and wood in my work. It was such a thrill to see these pieces. I desperately wanted to hold them in my hand – or even take one home. Unfortunately none of this is easily photographed….but you get the idea. The Scandinavians and all the Baltic countries have a strong affinity with amber – unfortunately it is so often crafted into ugly pieces – but these pieces show just how beautiful it can be in its almost raw state and the range of colours.

There was also some beautiful copper body ornaments as well as an amazing display of small boats
(each about 15cm long) crafted from gold.

I also loved the runes and the beautiful line drawings from the same period – so graphically strong and simple.
So much inspiration.

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Belinda Esperson