Vs 29
Sala parish church

Runic inscription

Visäte and Halvdan had stones carved after Holme, their father, and Holmfast
(after) his brother.

Livsten (Life-stone) carved these runes.


Livsten (Life-stone)

This is Livsten's finest runestone and one of the world's most beautiful runestones. Even if it is Livsten who received and executed the artwork, it is still not certain that he is the one who carved everything we see on the runestone.

Runestone U 1165 at Altuna church

On Livsten's runestone U 1161 at Altuna church (pictured) you can read at the end of the runic inscription that Balle and Frösten were Livsten's companions, which means they were his helpers and apprentices. Balle eventually became a famous runic carver himself who, like his mentor, liked to carve four-legged animals.


The four-legged rune-animal
The large, beautiful four-legged rune-animal that fills most of the runestone surface is typical of Livsten, but at the same time causes some problems to braid the bodies every other time over and under.

Livsten solves the problem of over and under by allowing the snakes to pass through the rune-animal's body.


A snake behind the eye

The important braiding "over, under" also creates problems in other places in the ornamentation.

Here at the right dragon's head, Livsten did not want the large rune-animal's tail to go over the dragon's head and eye. To solve the problem, he let the tail go over the eyebrow and then under the eye and then come out through the mouth.

(Today's painting on the original is wrong).

A mechanical shackle

On each side of the runestone are the dragons that carry the runic inscription in their bodies. Most of the time, the runecarver thinks that "if it's braided correctly" it can be enough as a shackle, but Livsten also chooses to have a mechanical shackle at the bottom where the tails of the dragons meet.

The shackle (yellow) locks the tails of the dragons.

But everything was not perfect

There are three errors in the carving, two double crossings and a curious detail in the upper right corner of the rune-carrying dragon.

I think Livsten blames the double crossings on its employees during training. These errors were of course not painted over when the work was completed and few noticed the errors.

It is only today that we also paint wrong carvings, not out of meanness but to understand and get close to the people behind the work.

This miscarving is difficult to understand. If it was originally intended that the ornamentation here should follow a narrower path, but then regretted it, why do you put the rune U in the wrongly carved carving track?

I'm guessing that they actually made a mistake here twice. First, the dragon's body was cut incorrectly, then the U-rune was accidentally carved along the wrong cut line.

The special shape of the runes

Livsten has a special shape on his runes as he always strives for 90 degree meetings of cutting grooves. The secondary staves on the runes N and A go straight out to the sides from the main stave. The runes are also short-branched with only a bi-staff on one side of the main staff.

Even the th rune's "belly" starts the same way, 90 degrees straight out from the main staff so it gets a "long belly".

Livsten does this to get stronger carving with strong corners... but he probably also does it because it's a style, a mark he wants to have to distinguish himself from other runecarvers.

The runestone and its future

The stone itself is a fantastic substance that has an almost smooth surface and measures 4 x 1.5 meters. We don't know what the back looks like, but it is likely that it is as even and smooth as the front, a rock species that wants to divide in this way.

... and it's possible that there's another runiccarving on the other side... ... and what if this is the back we've been looking at all these years?

Free the Runestone!

The runestone Vs 29 in Sala parish church should be taken out of the church wall as soon as possible. The work can be well paid for by the municipality of Sala, which in return gets another attraction and a unique destination for tourists in its municipality.

The runestone is one of the world's most beautiful runestones and also the masterpiece of Livsten. It deserves a better fate than this!


Västmanlands runinskrifter > page 84
Good information but only in Swedish.

Runor >  Riksantikvarieämbetet
Map and runic inscription.

Google map > Find the runestone

Contact: kalle@runristare.se
If you want to be of help or have a question.

All runestones in the

Runestone Park

We start from the north and go clockwise

U 11 - Adelsö, Hovgården
The King's Runestone in Hovgården, Adelsö

U 3 - Hovgården, Alsnöhus
Found during an excavation in 1916

U 1 - Adelsö church
Former threshold stone to the sacristy. Now built into the wall in the sacristy.

U 2 - Adelsö church
Destroyed by fire around 1660. Former threshold stone to the church.

U 10 - Dalby Adelsö
Found in 1920 at Stora Dalby, northern Adelsö. Now built into the wall of the sacristy, Adelsö church.

U 6 - Björkö village on Birka
Several fragments as a puzzle. Now in the museum at Birka.

U 5b - Birka 2015 (New find 2015)
2024.03.10 Not yet documented or published.

Sö 141b - Aspa bridge (Sö Fv1948;289)
New find in 1937 with the name Svitjod (Sweden).

Sö 179 - The Gripsholm runestone 
Mariefred, the most famous of the Ingvars runestones.

U 887 - Skillsta runestone
One of the world's most beautiful runestones.

Vs 29 - Sala parish church
The runecarver Livsten's masterpiece.

U 1125 - The old man in Krogsta
1500 year old rune stone carved with the older runes, the Old Norse runes.

Uppdaterad 17 mars, 2024 av Kalle Runristare