While researching the game I learned that it was played by more than just the Vikings but was actually popular through out northwest Europe. there were just about as many variations as there were people to play it. So I tried branching out to something other than Europe for inspiration, and came across a group of nomads in northern Nigeria.
They are called Wodaabe which translates to people of the taboo. At the end of the rainy season in September the nomads gather together for a week long celebration of beauty and love. Men dress in elaborate costumes and wear yellow face paint which is the color of “maagani” which is love and/or beauty magic. They display their white teeth and eyes which are attractive to women. For hours the men dance in a circle as the women gather around them. It is an opportunity to flirt from a distance, and for the unmarried to find those they wish to pursue as husbands. Finally a woman chosen for her exceptional beauty chooses for herself the man she finds most attractive with a subtle gesture.
Inspired by this dance this game board features the faces of handsome men in the center of the board with an ornate hat representing the handsomest of the group. To symbolize the women I chose calabashes, which are made and brought into a marriage by the women and are the mark of the households wealth. the set up is from the Irish take on Tablut known as brandubh or fidchell. The game pieces are hand made from polymer clay and then hand painted.
The pattern is an original design by Alyss Steiner, and was completed in 2009.