Norske gravminner fra høymiddelalderen som kilde til kjønnsidentitet

  • Morten Stige Cultural Heritage/Byantikvaren, Oslo, Norway


This study uses funerary monuments as a source of gender identity in mediaeval Norway. The gender of the deceased is identified in 67 of the few hundred mediaeval grave memorials (mostly from c. 1250–1350) preserved in Norway. Of these 28 per cent commemorate women while 67 per cent of the deceased are male, the rest being double graves. – The assumption behind the study is that the content and form of the grave memorial reflect the social position and individual identity of the deceased. Further it is presumed that a memorial with an emphasis on the character of the deceased in its motive or inscription can be interpreted as a sign of high self-esteem and a strong perception of oneself as an individual. – A representation of the deceased was found in 12 out of 19 female grave monuments while only 21 of the 45 male grave monuments had such depictions. The great majority of the male grave monu-ments commemorate clerics, knights or noblemen and depict them explicitly in their social role. The women are portrayed in a less uniform manner than the men, thus giving the impression of greater individuality. On the one hand it could be argued that this is hardly the case: the women were probably as fixed in their roles as the men. On the other hand, the type and quality of the female funerary monuments indicate a stronger social position than might be expected.
How to Cite
STIGE, Morten. Norske gravminner fra høymiddelalderen som kilde til kjønnsidentitet. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 3, p. 21-36, nov. 2014. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 oct. 2021.


Funeral art, Tombstone, Graveslab, Mediaeval art, Mediaeval religious culture, Gender identity, Scandinavian mediaeval art, Norwegian mediaeval art