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Title: Wadmal  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Frieze (textile), Textile, List of fabric names, Scandinavian culture, Longship
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Faroese postage stamp with a picture of a Viking helmsman in a wadmal tunic.

Wadmal (Old Norse vaðmál) is a coarse, dense, usually undyed wool fabric woven in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and the Orkney, Faroe and Shetland Islands from the Middle Ages into the 18th century. Wadmal was woven on the warp-weighted loom used throughout these areas of Norwegian influence, and was usually a 2/2 twill weave, although some medieval sources outside of Iceland describe wadmal as tabby or plain-woven. In remote regions, wadmal remained the primary fabric for working people's clothing into the 18th century[1][2]

The name vaðmál means "cloth measure", and Wadmal was a medium of exchange throughout Scandinavia. Wadmal was accepted as currency in Sweden, Iceland, Shetland, and Ireland, and exchange rates defined the equivalent of various grades of wadmal (measured in ells) in silver and in cows.[1][2][3] Wadmal was the main export of Iceland, where length, width, thread count, and weight for different grades were fixed by law.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Crawford, Barbara E., Beverley Ballin Smith, Norske videnskaps-akademi, and Society of Antiquaries (1999). The Biggings, Papa Stour, Shetland: the history and excavation of a royal Norwegian farm. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. pp. 201, 265.  
  2. ^ a b Østergård, Else (2004). Woven into the Earth: Textiles from Norse Greenland. Aarhus University Press. pp. 62–64.  
  3. ^ Allen, Larry (2009). The Encyclopedia of Money (2 ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 73.  
  4. ^ Pulsiano, Phillip, et al., ed. (1993). Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia. Garland Press. p. 99. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
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