– There is no shortage of ancient treasures in churches on Gotland, an island in Sweden. Many of these precious ancient artifacts have already been discovered and examined.
However, every now and then we also come across something we have never seen before, like this previously, unknown 800-year-old ceiling painting that was found during restoration work last month.
Before Christianity came to Sweden, Pagan Vikings had a number of gods and goddesses they worshipped. However, unlike other ancient civilizations the Vikings had neither an organized priesthood nor hierarchy of religious leaders. Temples or other religious buildings were also never used when the Pagan Vikings paid tributes to the Norse gods.
Gotland began to gradually abandon Norse religion and adopt Christianity during the 11th century. There are in total nineteen known ruined churches on the Swedish island and how many churches existed during the Middle Ages is unknown.
Vall on Gotland is a small village with only 266 inhabitants. In the middle of the village there is a church that was built out of limestone during the Middle Ages.
When workers started to clean the church’s ceiling , they suddenly noticed an intriguing painting no-one had the privilege to admire for several hundred of years.
“It has been hidden below lime and plaster for several hundred years. It feels amazing to Gotland and Vall”, conservator Marleen Kolmodin said.
The intriguing painting was most likely created when the tower was built, in the early 1200s. Then, sometimes in the 1600s it was painted over and fell into oblivion.
The symbolic meaning behind the old painting is not entirely clear. Scientists believe it tells a story of a confrontation between evil and good powers.
The painting is made while the tower was built in the early 1200s. Sometime, probably in the 1600s painted it over, and fell into oblivion. The different figures in the paintings seem to tell a story about the evil against the good.
“My own interpretation is that the circle is a representation of heaven. The evil creatures are trying to enter heaven and it leads to a battle between various creatures,” Kolmodin said.
“It’s amazing to find an old painting like this that have a completely different design language than we are used in our medieval churches. It will be fun for the assembly to see this, “vicar Monika May said.