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Rune bracelet from Liberec Region, Czech Rep.


Dedicated to Professor Klaus Düwel (October 10, 1935 – December 31, 2020).


With increased detector activity in the last three decades, there are discoveries of runic jewelery in Central Europe that seem to have an early medieval feel. However, the runic inscriptions contain a curious and inauthentic composition of characters, which has aroused the interest of runologists. To date, we have recorded nine rune bracelets quoting the so-called Merseburg Charms, Old High German healing texts from the 10th century. In the following article, we will present the tenth find, which comes from the territory of the Czech Republic. The text aims to present the discovery context of the first Czech rune bracelet and its position in the group of closest analogies. Based on a comparison of all available information, it was found that the bracelets were most likely created in the period 1918-1945 in the territory of today’s Germany. A possible manufacturer of these jewels was the family of H. Eklöh from Lüdenscheid.


In December 2015, an unusual object appeared in a Facebook group that unites Czech metal detectorists: a bracelet equipped with protruding runes on the outside and terminating with two snake heads. The find, allegedly originating from the territory of the Czech Republic, caused a certain sensation at the time, and group members accepted the artifact as an excellent example of Viking art in Czech territory, which is not surprising considering the growing popularity of the series Vikings and The Last Kingdom at the time.

Obr. 1: View of the outside of the bracelet.

The author of this text, who was critical of early medieval dating from the very beginning, was also invited to evaluate the object in a virtual way. The first reason for skepticism was the exceptionality of Scandinavian origin objects on the Czech Republic territory (see Eisner 1949; Košnar 1991). We are talking about even greater rarity in connection with finds with runic inscriptions. We currently know just one convincing runic find of the Early Middle Ages from Czech territory, namely a piece of rib bone from Lány, Břeclav district (Macháček – Nedoma 2020; Macháček et al. 2021). The opinion on the axe-shaped pendant with runes from the cadastre of today’s Lipová village, Děčín district, is not clear (Düwel – Nedoma – Oehrl 2020: 263-6; Kern 1935). In addition to these, there are other counterfeit runic inscriptions, some of which were published more than 90 years ago by Skutil (1933). Another reason for caution was the explicit nature of the runes. It is true that some medieval rings use runic and Latin inscriptions on the visible side (e.g. Krabath 2019; Page 1999: 113), but when it comes to rune bracelets and necklaces, the inscriptions are usually hidden inside the jewellery and are almost imperceptible (see Barnes – Hagland – Page 1997: 59-61; Jansson – Wessén – Svärdström 1978: 31-33; Stamsø Munch 1993). At first glance, the runic inscription on the discussed bracelet was created in the Elder Fuþark, i.e. in the runic alphabet used roughly until the end of the 8th century. However, one letter differs from the letters of the Elder Fuþark, so we could call the inscription partially cryptic or illegible.

The author contacted the owner and the finder of the object Lukáš Vladař who expressed an interest in evaluating the find. Personal inspection was not possible, but for the purposes of this text, photographs were provided showing the appearance, layout of the text, and approximate size. With these photos, we approached the runologist Wolfgang Beck (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena), who confirmed our suspicions regarding dating to the recent period and who directed us to the relevant literature. Armed with this knowledge, the author contacted the leading runologist Klaus Düwel (Universität Göttingen), who certainly placed the bracelet in the first half of the 20th century and identified the text as a derivative of the First Merseburg Charm. The results of the personal discussion with Professor Düwel will be included in the following chapters of this text. Some information about the Czech bracelet provided to Professor Düwel was previously published by Oehrl (Oehrl 2020). Since this is one of the few finds of its kind outside of Germany, we decided to bring the problem of rune bracelets into English language.

Object description

The find remains in a private collection to this day. It was discovered around 2005 in the cadastre of the municipality of Mařenice. The bracelet was found together with dozens of objects from World War I and World War II in a dump near a cemetery. Among other items from this location, the finder names various badges (NSDAP, Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, Winterhilfe) and belt buckles. The finder believes that the objects have been lying there for several decades and that they were deliberately thrown away.

Map 1: Location of the village of Mařenice on the map of Europe.

The bracelet is quality made of a copper alloy and is covered with a patina. It is currently cracked and weighs 40 g. It originally formed a nearly perfect, unclosed circle with an inner diameter of roughly 5.6 cm and an outer diameter of 6.5 cm. The thickness of the material is 0.4-0.5 cm, the height of the bracelet 0.6 cm. The ends, shaped into snake heads, are about 1 cm apart. The inner surface is flat and clean, the outer side is sculpted, with the background formed by concentric circles, from which runic letters with broad lines rise to the fore. In the centers of runes, there are narrow slits. The inscription can be transcribed as ᛁᚾᚹᚨԻᚹᛁᚷᚨᚾᛞᚢᚾ, transliterated as INWAR WIGANDUN, a quote from the First Merseburg Charm meaning “flee the enemy”. Instead of the rune , which marks the letter R, the unusual character Ի is used.

Obr. 2: Shape and size of the bracelet.

All provided photos can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Merseburg Charms

For a better understanding of the rune production of the first half of the 20th century, it is advisable to briefly mention the Merseburg Charms, which are not commonly familiar to the English audience. These are two Old High German texts preserved on the pages of the sacramentary Codex 136, which is stored in the cathedral library in Merseburg, Germany. Specifically these texts are locaced on page 84/85 of the manuscript, depending on the way the pages are numbered (Beck 2003). They were discovered by the historian Georg Waitz in 1841 and published for the first time by Jacob Grimm a year later. The original text of the manuscript probably dates from the 9th century, while the charms were created later, most likely in the 1st-2nd third of the 10th century in Fulda (Beck 2003: 377; Bischoff 1971: 111).

Charms are referred to as MZ I and MZ II in the scientific literature and are considered potential healing texts of the Early Middle Ages (Düwel 2009; Heizmann 2015: 72). Their exceptionality lies in documenting healing incantation that we also know from other Germanic regions, especially Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England (see Komarec – Revická 2009; Pereswetoff-Morath 2019). The following is a very approximate translation into English, which is a compromise reading of several versions (Beck 2003: 1; Eichner – Nedoma 2003: 10-11; Glosíková – Jičínská 2007: 7):


Once sat deities, they sat here and there;
some fastened bonds, some hindered
an army,
some struggled with strong shackles:
Escape the bonds, flee the enemy!

(Eiris sāzun idisi, sāzun hera, duo, der;
suma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidun,
suma clūbōdun umbi cuoniouuidi:
insprinc haptbandun, inuar uīgandun!


Phol and Wodan were riding to the woods,
when the foot of Balder’s foal was sprained.
Then it was enchanted by Sinthgunt, Sunna’s sister;

then it was enchanted by Frîja, Folla‘s sister;
then it was enchanted by Wodan, as well he could:
Like bone-sprain, so blood-sprain,
so joint-sprain.
Bone to bone, blood to blood,
joint to joint, so may they be glued

(Phôl ende Wuodan fuorun zi holza.
Dû wart demo balderes folon sîn fuoz birenkit.
Thû biguol en Sinthgunt, Sunna era swister;
thû biguol en Frîja, Folla era swister;
thû biguol en Wuodan, sô hê wola conda.
Sôse bênrenki, sôse bluotrenki,
sôse lidirenki:
bên zi bêna, bluot zi bluoda,
lid zi geliden, sôse gelîmida sîn

After its discovery, the Merseburg charms saw numerous literary, theatrical, musical and other artistic adaptations (Beck – Cottin 2010: 33-42). At the beginning and during the first half of the 20th century, knowledge of charms was part of the general education of the middle class (Oehrl 2020: 92). The fact that charms along with other ancient texts (e.g. the Song of Hildebrand and excerpts from the Old Norse sagas) commonly appeared in school reading books clearly shows these texts were not only encountered by the intelligentsia (Lauf-Immesberger 1987: 91). Authors of Jewish origin also worked with charms in a certain way: for example, Joseph Roth gives a travel report about the ecological disaster caused by mining near Merseburg, which he names Der Merseburger Zauberspruch in 1930 (Rossbacher 1991). On the morning of June 19, 1922, Anton Kun noted a simile in his diary: “How do you say it in the Merseburg Charms? Bone to bone, blood to blood…” (Schübler 2016: 395). There were also some painted adaptations, among which we can include Emil Doepler’s illustrations printed in the book Walhall. Die Götterwelt der Germanen of 1905 (Doepler – Ranisch 1905: 13-14) or a postcard created on the occasion of the millennium celebration of the Merseburg town in 1933 (Oehrl 2020: 92).

Figs. 3-4: Illustrations by Emil Doepler. Source: Doepler – Ranisch 1905: 13-14.


The find from Liberec region belongs to a group of objects that have so far only been discovered in the territory of today’s Germany and Poland and which stand on the border between collecting, counterfeiting and archaeology. Essential literature is Düwel’s article Über das Nachleben der Merseburger Zaubersprüche (1998) and Oehrl’s follow-up Ein Bronzearmring mit Runen aus Lorscheid, Kreis Trier-Saarburg, und die Rezeption der “Merseburger Zaubersprüche” (2020). It is worth noting that these authors together published one of the bracelets in the catalog of South Germanic runic inscriptions (Düwel – Nedoma – Oehrl 2020: 757-8). Analogical bracelets can be divided into two subgroups: the first category is represented by pieces inspired by the First Merseburg Charm, the second category by bracelets inspired by the Second Merseburg Charm.

Map 2: Distribution of rune bracelets in Central Europe.
Blue colour = finds inspired by the First Merseburg Charm.
Orange colour = find inspired by the Second Merseburg spell.
Green colour = town of Lüdenscheid, potential place of production.

The first subgroup can be divided into the variant inwar wigandun (“flee the enemy”) and the variant insprinc haptbandum (“escape the bonds”). Along with the Czech find, this group numbers seven pieces that share identical animal heads, raised runes on a punched background, and the use of the unusual Ի letter. The second subgroup of three pieces consists of two variants of the inscription: pluot tsi pluoda (“blood to blood”) and pen tsi pena (“bone to bone”). Bracelets of this group are less uniform, however, they are created according to the same internal logic, using dots to separate words and the unusual combination of runes ᛏᛋ.

The oldest find (variant pluot tsi pluoda) was discovered at the end of World War I or not long after it. One bracelet inscribed inwar wigandun is known to have been purchased as an “old Germanic bracelet replica” in a museum boutique in 1938. One find with insprinc haptband variant was supposedly discovered in the 1930s-1940s. A bracelet with the inscription pen tsi pena was supposedly found in destroyed Berlin in 1946. The find from Liberec region, discovered with objects from both World Wars, is thus one of the few finds that allow for chronological anchoring. This comparison shows that the bracelets of all variants probably come from the period 1918-1945. Oehrl noted the accumulation of some finds and suggests that these accumulations may be the result of the existence of a workshop or sales points (Oehrl 2020: 98).

Catalog of bracelets inspired by MZ I (excluding the find from Liberec Region)

Inscription variant inwar wigandun (“flee the enemy”):

  • Braunschweig (originally purchased in Hildesheim)
    In 1976, one of the visitors to the traveling exhibition about finds from around Braunschweig noticed a bracelet in the exhibition (Haverlah) and contacted the curator Ralf Busch with the explanation that he had bought the same bracelet at the sales stand of the Roemer Museum in Hildesheim in 1938, where it was advertised as a “replica of an ancient Germanic bronze bracelet” (eine Nachbildung eines frühgermanischen Bronzeringes) (Düwel 1998: 543). Busch examined the bracelet from the private collection and concluded that it was an identical item with the complete inwar wigandun inscription. The length of the bronze bracelet after unfolding was 20.7 cm. The object remained in the private collection.

Fig. 5: Bracelet from Braunschweig. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 2.

  • Haverlah
    An incomplete bronze bracelet with the inscription inwar wigand was found in a field in the village of Haverlah in 1974 and was given to the State Museum in Braunschweig (Oehrl 2020: 97). The bracelet was open and its diameter was 7.3 cm (Düwel 1998: 543).

Fig. 6: Bracelet from Haverlah. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 1.

  • Lorscheid
    As part of the German detectoring championship, on 26 May 2018, a piece of a bronze bracelet with an incomplete inscription gandun was presented (Oehrl 2020). The bracelet is 0.6-0.8 cm wide, 0,2-0.4 cm thick and approximately 9 cm long when unfolded. It is said to have been discovered in the cadastre of the village of Lorscheid. The find remains in the Rhineland Museum in Trier (inv. no. RLM Trier, EV 2018,24).

Fig. 7: Bracelet from Lorscheid. Source: Oehrl 2020: Abb. 1.

  • Trier (also Ürzig or Machern)
    In 1954, archaeologist Kurt Böhner presented information to runologist Helmut Arntz about a privately owned rune bracelet. Arntz wrote a short article about the bracelet with two photos showing that the bracelet was closed by the owner with the snake heads side by side (Arntz 1954/1955). The documentation mentions the villages of Ürzig and Machern as the find locations, and it is not possible to determine which of them is correct. The bracelet was left to a private owner. When unfolded, the bronze bracelet is 19.3 cm long, 5.8 cm in diameter, and 0.5-0.7 cm high in the places of the runes (Düwel 1998: 541-3). The inwar wigandun inscription is complete.

Fig. 8: Bracelet from Ürzig or Machern. Source: Oehrl 2020: Abb. 6.

Inscription variant insprinc haptbandum (“escape the bonds”):

  • Altstädten-Sonthofen
    In the second half of the 1990s, the archaeologist Volker Babucke supposedly contacted Klaus Düwel regarding the discovery of a bronze rune bracelet that was allegedly found during archaeological excavations in the village of Altstädten (Düwel 1998: 548-9). One of the heads of the bracelet is apparently missing, but the inscription insprinc haptband is complete. Düwel believed that the bracelet could be dated either to the 1930s-1940s, when excavations took place in the city of Altstädten and the Adolf-Hilter-Schule operated in the town of Sonthofen. According to Oehrl, this bracelet is a deliberate forgery by Düwel and no such find has ever been made (Oehrl 2020: 90).

Fig. 9: Bracelet from Altstädten. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 5.

  • Zweiflingen
    In August 1996, a pedestrian supposedly came across a bronze bracelet that protruded 3 cm from the ground on the outskirts of the village of Zweiflingen (Düwel 1998: 548-9; Düwel – Nedoma – Oehrl 2020: 757-8). The find was reported to the Württemberg Land Museum in Stuttgart. The bracelet is complete and its inscription reads inprinc haptband. According to Oehrl, this bracelet is a deliberate forgery by Düwel and no such find has ever been made (Oehrl 2020: 90).

Fig. 10: Bracelet from Zweiflingen. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 4.

Catalog of bracelets inspired by MZ II

Inscription variant pluot tsi pluoda (“blood to blood”)

  • Gdańsk (possibly Węgle)
    In 1974, a bronze or brass bracelet was lent to the Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk, which was allegedly found near or in a grave in the village of Węgle three years earlier (Oehrl 2020: 96). The bracelet is open, the center with the runes is flat, while the arms have a twisted motif. The inscription reads pluot.tsi.pluoda. When unfolded, the bracelet is 22.9 cm long.

Fig. 11: Bracelet from Gdańsk. Source: Oehrl 2020: Abb. 4.

  • Schleswig-Holstein
    In 1976, Kurt Schietzel reported to Klaus Düwel the discovery of a rune bracelet with a moving story: a French-speaking African war captive found a bronze rune bracelet while peatmining and he gave it to another owner of an unknown name at the end of World War I or shortly after, who had a silver copy made and dedicated it to his brother Claus Glüsing of Schaalby (Düwel 1998: 544-5). The silver copy was 6-6.7 cm in diameter, 0.6 cm high, 0.4 cm thick and 17.6 cm long when unfolded. The ends in the shape of animal heads are about 1.8 cm apart. The inscription reads pluot.tsi.pluoda.

Fig. 12: Bracelet from Schleswig. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 3.

Inscription variant pen tsi pena (“bone to bone”):

  • Berlin
    During the preparation of an exhibition in Berlin’s Museum of Prehistory and Early History, Klaus Düwel supposedly mentioned to the curator Marion Bertram about the upcoming publication of rune bracelets, after which a museum employee immediately brought a previously unknown bracelet that came from the estate of a deceased collector who wished to remain anonymous. The bracelet was allegedly found during the cleaning of Berlin’s Schloßplatz square in 1946. The inscription reads pen.tsi.pena. According to Oehrl, this bracelet is a deliberate forgery by Düwel and no such find has ever been made (Oehrl 2020: 90).

Fig. 13: Bracelet from Berlin. Source: Düwel 1998: Abb. 6.

Attempt to identify the workshop

In the search for a possible manufacturer of rune jewellery, the family of entrepreneur and public figure Heinrich Eklöh Jr. from Lüdenscheid is a promising candidate. Heinrich was born on June 8, 1871 into a family with a rich business tradition. He himself continued in this trade, and the best way to learn about his life is from the advertisements and other promotional materials of his company. The earliest record of the young merchant Heinrich probably dates from 1891-2 (Abel – Wermeckes 1891; Klockhaus’ kaufmännisches Handels- und Gewerbe-Adressbuch 3: 5213). In the mid-1890s he worked as a confectioner’s merchant (Gordian – Zeitschrift für die Cacao-, Chocoladen- und Zuckerwaren 1895/1: 70), a business he carried on doing for more than ten following years. He married Elsa Kettling no later than 1899, and together they had four children: Hildegard (March 10, 1901), Walter, Helmut and Waltraud. Heinrich maintained contacts with the artist Henry van de Velde and the patron Karl Ernst Osthaus, and in 1903/4 he had an Art Nouveau house built in the center of Lüdenscheid, still called the Inselhaus, which he incorporated into his brand in 1907 (Warenzeichenblatt 14: 963). In 1907-8, he traded in export and import goods (food, meat, wine, coffee, tea) from this house (Die Gartenlaube 19; Die Woche 9/14: 10; Warenzeichenblatt 16: 1517). At that time he already held several patents (Patentblatt 1896/20: 72; 1908/32: 323).

In 1910, Eklöh describes himself as a “supplier of household goods” (Lieferant des Hausrats) (tausstellung Brüssel 1910: Deutsches Reich amtlicher Katalog: 251). As evidenced by his company’s postcard from the same year, the entrepreneur’s path went towards aluminum machining and sports items. No later than 1911, he begins to focus on the youth reform movement, which he financially supported (Dokumente des Fortschritts internationale Revue 4/1: 209) and to whom he offered a wide range of goods: suits, shoes, backpacks, cameras, flashlights, compasses, guitars, spirit stove (Henne 1986: 286). He continued to target this group until 1917, as evidenced by advertising materials (Pross 1964: 185). At the same time, he was engaged in the sale of equipment for outdoor sports and their promotion in the form of brochures Wintersport, ein Volkserzieher and Wanderer’s Taschenbuch, ein Ratgeber in allen Lagen des Wanderlebens (Alpina 22: 21; Albrecht – Kertscher 1999: 254). In 1913, we first hear about the transformation of the brand into Haus Eklöh, which embarked on the path of reform clothing and was supposed to offer a German alternative to the slavishly unnatural, complicated and alien French fashion. At this time he briefly joined forces with the youth leader Friedrich Muck-Lamberty, but this partnership did not last even a year (Linse 1983: 111). The result of the collaboration was a pamphlet entitled Ein Beitrag zur Neugestaltung der Frauen- und Männertracht (Ras 2007: 76). At the same time, Heinrich continued to make pots and pans until at least 1914 (Lion 1914).

Fig. 14: First page of the Runen-Schmuck brochure/catalogue.

According to one source (Der Kunstwart 29/14: 1916), during the World War I he continued to make clothes and started a new production of jewellery. In his advertisements, he used the designation “Craftsmanship workshops for clothing and jewellery” (Kunstgewerbliche Werkstätten für Trachten und Schmuck). Wartime research forums state that in 1915 Heinrich released a new belt model. In 1916, a turning point comes: Eklöh teamed up with the company of Austrian writer and occultist Guido von List and created a collection of Aryan jewellery based on List’s designs that used old symbolism and fought with simplicity against the use of precious metals and stones (Balzli 1917: 243-4). In the same year he offered amulets of Thor’s hammers for the first time (Zeitschrift des Allegemeinen deutschen Sprachvereins 31-3). It seems that he formally rejected the production of clothes, as he chose to label his workshop “Craftsmanship workshops for German folk jewellerry and association badges” (Kunstgewerbliche Werkstätten für deutschvölkischen Schmuck und Verbandsabzeichen). In the second half of the Great War, he publishes the pamphlet Wie schmücke ich mich? (1916), the article Runen-schmuck (Deutschlands Erneuerung 1918/1) and especially the pamphlet Runen-schmuck (1918), in which he presents his jewellery set in its entirety on 112 pages. The offer shows a focus on brooches, pendants, rings and tie pins with runes, swastikas and Thor’s hammers in silver and brass. Rune bracelets are absent in this piece. He continued selling jewellery in 1919 (Zeitschrift des Allgemeine deutschen Sprachvereins 34–35). The last advertisement that can be directly linked to Heinrich Eklöh is a 1921 offer to make football and club badges of “thousand types”, including those made to order within 14 days (Das Echo 40: 2129, 2237, 2424, 2548, 2785, 2927; Wachtfeuer 7–9). The very last mention of Heinrich as the owner of a shop with residence in the Inselhaus is provided by the Telephone Directory of the German Reich for 1932 (Telephon-Adreßbuch für das Deutsche Reich 38.1932,3: 83).

In 1922, there was a change in advertising in the sense that “H. Eklöh” began to offer bronze jewellery (Das Echo 41: 4284, 4657, 5017). Given the following advertisements, there is reason to believe that Heinrich’s daughter Hildegard, who appears in promotional materials as Hilda Eklöh, may have taken over jewellery production. We find only two of Hilda’s advertisements, but the one from 1931 is the most interesting for our story: Hilda Eklöf offers handmade “silver and brass brooches, buttons and bracelets with runes and floral ornaments as interpreted by Guido von List” (Silber- und Messingbroschen, Knöpfe und Reifen mit Runer und Blumenzler nach Deutungen von Guido v. List) (Ostara 95). The last mention of Hilda comes from 1933, when she still represents the Haus Eklöh brand in the metalworking industry (Deutsche Graveur- und Stempel-Zeitung 58: 108). The subsequent disappearance in the sources may be related to her marriage to the officer and later Brigade General Ludwig Karn.

Fig. 15: Advertising leaflet offering Hilda Eklöh’s runic jewellery from 1931.
Source: Ostara 95.

We devoted a lot of space to the description of the family business, not only for a case new facts may appear in the future that fit into this story, but to reveal the spirit of the times and outline some potentially important points. Namely, we must name the fact that Eklöh was a major player and pioneer in the production of Old Germanic-tuned jewellery of the beginning of the 20th century, who transformed List’s theories into real wearable fashion and spread it among the masses thanks to his capacities and capital. His primacy and importance are stated by some sources with the fact that he raised old and dull jewellery to “Germanic and at the same time New German jewellery” (einen germanischen und zugleich neudeutschen Nadel- und Anhängerschmuck) (Deutsche Goldschmiede-Zeitung 32: 324). For example, Ludwig Wilser, in his pseudoscientific book on the origin and meaning of the swastika, uses Eklöh’s company as evidence of the increased interest of German youth in Germanic roots:

Among the youth of that time, there was a real (sometimes exaggerated) cultivation of Germanic customs; it was considered good to know the runic script, a whole shop was opened with handmade runic jewellery (Eklöh in Lüdenscheid).” (Wilser ‎- Bernhardi 1933: 24)

Despite the popularity and the first attempts to replicate early medieval jewellery dating back to the late 19th century (La Niece 2009: 330), it is reasonable to assume that the rune bracelets in question did not originate before World War I and can more likely be dated between 1915-1945. We do not know whether the Eklöh family actually produced them. It is very likely that they were not part of the standard offer until 1918, because they are missing from the catalog, but it cannot be ruled out that they were custom-made for museums or pieces created only in the 1920s-1930s. It is of course possible that Eklöh’s work inspired other makers, for example the company of Otto and Karolina Gahr from Munich, court jewellers of the Nazi Party (see Schild – Meyer 1993). From a chronological point of view, these conclusions faithfully correspond to the chronological evidence related to the preserved bracelets. In private correspondence, Professor Klaus Düwel described the origin of the bracelets in Eklöh’s workshop as possible.

In conclusion, let us add that Eklöh received more than just praise during his lifetime. He was anonymously accused of ripping off symbols and researchers who had entrusted him with their notes in good faith in pursuit of money. At the same time, it was suggested that he attributed imaginary meanings to symbols. The main counter-argument at the time was the claim that Eklöh had its main income from wholesale and that the interest in runes was merely a “passion and innermost conviction” (Liebhaberei und innerster Überzeugung) (Hupp 1918: 59, 130-1). With the distance of a century, the situation cannot be evaluated objectively other than Eklöh’s life is an illustrative example of the intermingling of völkisch nationalism and occultism at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. To period criticism we can add a historical assessment that Eklöh, by massively promoting völkisch lifestyle and fashion in the form of funding, brochures and products, helped to shape a generation with ideas whose full impact was not seen until the 1930s and 1940s. However, this is another story that Eklöh could not have known about at the time of his business.


The article would not have been created without the cooperation of the finder Lukáš Vladař, to whom we hereby thank. We would like to express our gratiture to Wolfgang Beck (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) and Klaus Düwel, who unfortunately did not live to see our publication, for directing us to the literature and helping with a proper evaluation of the find. We must also mention Diego Flores Cartes, who helped them with the editing of the pictures.

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