Hello Dhamma friends. Have anyone of you heard of the so-called "Oseberg Buddha" from Norway? http://www.vikingrune.com/2009/08/oseberg-buddha/"One of the most interesting Oseberg discoveries is the so-called Buddha-bøtte or Buddha bucket. It is a pail with two identical figures forming the joints of the pail handle. Both figures represent a man seated in the Lotus position. His head is flat. His face with closed eyes has a peaceful and sunken expression. The man’s breast is ornamented with red and yellow champlevé enamel as well as panels of millefiori. Four swastikas on the enamel decoration have the shape common in the Buddhist tradition, in which this symbol represents auspiciousness and good fortune."
Yes, that is a well known artifact here in Norway. Some art historians say there are close parallels in Irish art, so nobody really knows if this figure is inspired by Buddhism or not. Anyway, it is intriguing.
The Buddha statuette found in Sweden, however, proves that there were some contact between Norse and Buddhist cultures. But again, nobody knows if that statuette was just a random souvenir, or if the contacts went any deeper than that.