Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birka wallet

To start up this new blog I will post my latest project.
It is a century wallet from Birka. Not an axact repliccation, but a wallet inspired by the findings from Birka.

The wallet is made from ca. 1 mm thick goatskin and the dark parts have been dyed.
I didn't have alot of sources on the this type of wallet exept for a small notice in "Purses in Pieces" and some pictures i found on the net.
So the decorations are mostly speculative.

Some say that the braids were made from gilded leather og metal bands wowen into the leather. but i wasn't abled to werify one or the other. So i just used leather strips.

The leather strips were draw
n through the laether using an awl. I tried just pushing them througt, just using my fingers, but that was way to complicated.

Here are some pictures of how i fastened the braids to the wallet. The straps are made from one single strap, wich have been cut into three strips held togeather in one end.

These are all the parts of the wallet. The two big pieces are the front and back and the three small ones are the pockets for the inside of the wallet.

And here are the pictures i found og one of the original findings. The first picture is a drawing of an original and the second i a reconstruction. I don't know from where these pictures were taken, but i'm guessing it is from some book...

All in all i think the results came out pretty nice.


  1. That's a very neat piece of work, and interesting as well since I didn't even knew that kind of pouch/wallet existed until now. Interesting new blog too, I'll add it to my links
    (eftersom du skriver på engelska antar jag att det blir bäst om också kommentarerna blir på det språket)

  2. You just comment in any language you feel like... If I don't understand what you are writeing I will just make some on-line translator translate it for me :)

    And thanks for the compliment!
    I have known the type of wallet for some time now, just haven't gotten around to making one, before now.

    Here is another reconstruction (just click the purse in the picture):

  3. I am interested in making a Birka Wallet as well. Where did you find the documentation on the sizes that was used?

  4. birka wallets are awesome keep them coming

  5. There are some books conserning the findings from Birka.Although I can't remenber the title just now.

    The size of the one I made is not exactly correct. In fact the original is a bit larger. Mine is only 3/4 of the original.
    Since I could not find the right size when I made it, I just made it to fit a standard credit card ;-)

  6. Can I ask where you got that wool in the background? I've been looking everywhere. : )

  7. That is a woolen blanket that can be found in shops here in Denmark. They are made from a compagny in Silkeborg and cost between 250-600 danish kroner.

  8. That is a really cool wallet. It really came out well.

  9. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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  10. Lovely work!
    The pictures from the book are plates from Arbman, Holger, 1940, "BIRKA I, Die Gräber", Tafeln, published by Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-Aktiebolag. There is also an accompanying text volume.

    In a later volume in the series there is more on the wallet. This is in Arwidsson, Greta (Ed.), 1984, "BIRKA II:1, Systematische Analysen der Gräberfunde" published by Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvets Akademien. The chapter covering the wallet is 16. "Beutel und Taschen von Anne-Sofie Gräslund" and is on pages 141-154. As you might guess from the title the article is in German.

    There are also some photos at for example at the bottom there are links to other photos including the museum's reconstruction.