Here's a cool new detector find from Hvirring in central Jutland, Denmark. I've never seen a piece like this before: measuring only 45 mm in length, it must be a top mount for something - box, horse yoke, staff? But the motif, four dancing gripping beasts, and the style they're executed in, place the thing firmly in the 9th century. Note the little round ears and the cross-hatching on chest and rump.
Thanks to Dear Reader Jakob for the tip-off.
Do you think this is the origin of the word "virrig"...? ;)
They probably make a vhirring sound as they gyrate!
"Snurrig" perhaps - like a 'fyrvepling'...
Any relation of this object to ancient religious beliefs? What is the context?
Almost certainly some relationship to forgotten religious beliefs. The context hasn't been investigated yet nor the location of the site disclosed.
I know comparisons are odious, and your Hvirring bronze is wa-ay later, but it gives me a bit of a "Sutton Hoo whetstone" tingle.
Or even the iron staff-thingy from the same ship-burial, with its 4 sided/cardinal directions aspect.
I'll choose to ignore the suspected 'Swedish' affinities of some of the stuff from there, for now :^P