We are currently testing the collection module at www.worldtreeproject.org, and have not yet put out a public call for contributions to the digital archive (though keep an eye out for the call soon!)
But we’ve already come across several images that we are unable to identify or locate. One of them is pictured here:
It clearly depicts an image of the World-Tree as depicted in the Poetic Edda and elaborated on by Snorri. We can see the four harts feeding on Yggdrasill, the Norns spinning out fates at the bottom of the image, and the squirrel Ratatosr delivering messages from the serpent Níðhöggr and the hawk perched on an eagle in the upper branches of the tree.
Beyond this, we know very little about the image, including what form the original takes (textile or painting?), where it is located, when the original was produced, and who took the image.
Whilst the majority of the items that we collect on the project will be identifiable (and correctly identified by contributors), we are certainly going to be presented with items such as this which are unknown to the researchers on the project, raising the question of how to find out the information and to catalogue these images.
We are hoping that we can also draw on the wisdom of the crowd to help us to identify most of these “John Does” and assign them their correct place. For this reason, we will be putting out a call on Twitter and Facebook every time we come across something unusual. We’ll also be keeping an exhibit of unknown items on the website – so pop in now and again to see if there’s anything that you can identify… or just to revel in the weird and wonderful items that come in to the project.
And if you can help us to identify this particular image, we’ll ensure your name is immortalised in skaldic verse.*
*Or a mention on the homepage, at the very least…