Ellen Lloyd – AncientPages.com – At first glance, the Viklaumadonna appears to be a merely beautiful ancient sculpture, but she is much more than that. If you didn’t know where to look, you may never even find her thousands-year-old secret that is well hidden.
Left: Viklaumadonna. Credit: Katarina Nimmervoll/Statens historiska museum – Right: An opening in her head. Credit: Statens historiska museum
“Sweden has, in relation to other European countries, a rather large number of medieval wooden sculptures. In the 3000 or so churches in the country there are some 2800 sculptures preserved. To this number are to be added the collections in the Statens Historiska Museum (Museum of national Antiques) in Stockholm and smaller collections in provincial museums.” 1
One of the most famous Medieval sculptures in Sweden is the Viklaumadonna.
Made of wood, the painted figure was created around 1170. She was named after the Viklau church in Gotland, Sweden where she was discovered. In 1928, the Swedish History Museum (Statens Historiska Museum) bought the figurine and today you can only find a copy of the curious statue inside the church.
The Viklaumadonn is unique because she has a small hole on top of her head. The staff at the Swedish Museum have long been aware of this unusual opening in the head, but conservators were cautious and unwilling to examine it further thinking they could accidentally damage the sculpture.
Finally, in 2017 curiosity had to be satisfied and it was time to find out what was hidden inside the head of the Viklaumadonnan.