Trundholm Sun Chariot
The Trundholm Sun Chariot is a Nordic Bronze Age artifact from about 1400 BC and represents the sun chariot. The artifact was cast in the lost wax method.
The main features of the bronze horse are highly decorated. The horse stands on a bronze rod supported by four wheels.
The rod below the horse is connected to the large bronze disk, which is supported by two wheels. All of the wheels have four spokes.
The disk consists of two bronze disks that are joined by an outer bronze ring, with a thin sheet of gold applied to one face only.
The disks are decorated with punches and gravers with zones of motifs of concentric circles, with bands of zig-zag decoration between borders.
The gold side has an extra outer zone which may represent rays, and also an area with concentric circles linked by looping bands.
The two sides of the disk have been interpreted as an indication of a belief that the Sun is drawn across the heavens from East to West.
The bright golden side faces the Earth, East to West and on the return from West to East during the night, the dark side faces the Earth.
A continuation of the sun around a globe would also have the golden side progressing east to west.
It is assumed that the chariot was used during religious rituals to honor the motion of the Sun in the heavens.
The sculpture was discovered in Denmark in 1902 in a peat bog on the Trundholm moor in Odsherred in the northwestern part of Zealand, Denmark.
A “sun chariot” is a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a chariot. The concept is Indo-European, corresponding with the Indo-European expansion after the invention of the chariot in the 2nd millennium BC.
Examples of Sun Chariot include:
- In Norse mythology, the chariot of the goddess Sól, drawn by Arvak and Alsvid.
- In the Celtic Pantheon, the sky god Taranis is typically depicted with the attribute of a spoked wheel.
- In Greek mythology, the god Helios or Apollo rode in a chariot.
- In Roman mythology, Sol Invictus has been depicted riding a quadriga on the reverse of a Roman coin.
- In Indian traditions, Vedic Surya rides a chariot drawn by seven horses.
- The Rigveda also reflects the mytheme of the Sun chariot. Ther mentions of the sun god’s bride as seated on a chariot pulled by two steeds.
The Sun itself was also compared to a wheel in Proto-Indo-European, Greek, Sanskrit, Anglo-Saxon language and culture. In Chinese culture, the sun chariot is associated with the passage of time.
In the older Egyptian mythology and religion, the sun rides a Solar barge. A “solar barge” also known as “sun boat” is a mythological representation of the sun riding in a boat.
Several “sun boat” representations have been found in Egypt dating to different pharaonic dynasties. The gods Ra and Horus have been depicted as riding in a solar barge.
In Egyptian myths of the afterlife, Ra rides in an underground channel from west to east every night so that he can rise in the east the next morning.
Also, Nordic Bronze Age petroglyphs sometimes contain barges and sun crosses in different constellations.
Trundholm Sun Chariot
- Artifact: Trundholm Sun Chariot
- Danish: Solvognen
- Date: 1400 BC
- Material: Bronze and Gold
- Culture: Nordic Bronze Age
- Found at: Peat bog, Trundholm moor, Odsherred, 1902
- Dimensions: W: 54 cm × H: 35 cm × D:29 cm (21 in × 14 in × 11 in); Disk diameter: 25 cm (9.8 in)
- Type: Ancient Artifact
- Museums: National Museum of Denmark
National Museum of Denmark: The Sun Chariot
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The Sun Chariot (Copenhagen)
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“Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it.”
– Volunga Saga
Photo Credit:1) Nationalmuseet / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)