Museum sending ship to China for country’s first Viking exhibition

Suzhou Museum will exhibit artefacts from March until June

For the first time in China, an exhibition will open in March focusing exclusively on the Vikings, and the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde will send its ship, Eik Sande, to become one of the main exhibits.

‘Dragons of the Northern Seas  – The Viking Age of Denmark’ is a joint initiative between the museums of the Chinese city of Suzhou and Denmark’s Esbjerg and is part of an ongoing cultural exchange program between the two countries.

Ships’ symbolic value
Flemming Just, who heads the Danish side of the project, described the event as a unique opportunity for Chinese visitors. “The exhibition will show some of the finest objects from Viking-age Denmark,” he said in a press release.

Artefacts from collections across Denmark depicting different aspects of the Vikings' existence will be compiled for the exhibition. And according to Tinna Damgård-Sørensen, the head of the Viking Ship Museum, the seafaring section will help the Chinese gain a proper understanding of who the Vikings were.

“We want to show people in China how the Vikings had a special relationship with their ships,” she said. “Their warships, merchant ships and fishing boats had a huge symbolic value to them.”

Eik Sande is a full-scale meticulous reconstruction of the famous Gokstad Ship found in a burial mound in Norway in 1880, which dated back to around 890.

In recent months, the ship has been exhibited in the departures hall of Copenhagen Airport. It will be taken to Roskilde before being shipped to Suzhou via Shanghai.