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Author Topic: SB022 - Horse  (Read 75 times)

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Offline MaryLouTopic starter

SB022 - Horse
« on: May 15, 2017, 07:15:09 PM »
This is a really long story but it's a good read so... enjoy!!

Hej, Valkommen till Sverige!

For this Story Book Adventurer, we travel to that beautiful Scandinavian land of Sweden for our next challenge! The Dalecarlian horse!

Horses have been important to man since the beginning of time! It is believed they arrived in Sweden sometime around BC 2000. Horses, whether used for riding or carting, soon became valued as a means of transport and were seen as a symbol of strength, courage, loyalty, wisdom and dignity.

Horses were also a symbol of the mysterious beyond; they seemed possessed of an inherent holiness, and in Nordic mythology they were the property of the Gods. Odin’s own steed was the eight-legged Sleipner.
The magic and mystery associated with horses have inspired people to paint, carve and sculpt them throughout the ages. In prehistoric cave paintings and petrographs example, horses are a common motif.

In 1624 the Bishop of Västerås preached a fiery sermon against the sinful idols he had seen offered for sale in the city’s markets including, he said, “wooden horses”. It thus appears that carved wooden horses were being made in Sweden at least 375 years ago. And if we are to believe the bishop, they were possessed of magical powers and must be considered a source of sin. In the 1660s, many women stood accused of having used the wooden horses for the rituals of witchcraft. Today the Swedish people hang a horseshoe above their door to bring good fortune to the house.

Horses have been painted and drawn all over the world, and toy horses are common but none is as widespread or as well-loved as the Dalecarlian horse, or Dalahäst as it is called in Swedish. The Dalecarlian horse is known all over the world. Hand carved from a single piece of wood and individually decorated in the rich traditional patterns of flowers and flourishes, which are based on very old forms of peasant 'kurbits' painting. The ancestors of the present-day Dalahäst were first carved back in the eighteenth century in tiny cabins set deep in the forest. There, during the long winter evenings, the woodmen would sit by the fire after a hard day’s work felling and clearing the forest. Many whiled away the time by carving toy figures for the children back in the village.

And, naturally, they carved horses. For them, horses were of inestimable value. Not only was a horse a faithful family friend, but it could also be used to haul heavy loads of timber through the winter woods and work the fields in summer. The horse pulled carts to market and took the family to church and let the children perch on its big broad back. In short, the horse was the pride and joy of the farm.

During the 19th century the horses were as often as not painted with floral motifs, taking as their inspiration the country-style paintings of contemporary furniture and cottage interiors. The peddlers who traveled the country selling baskets, wooden casks, whetstones and other household utensils also included wooden horses among their wares, using them mostly to pay for the board and lodging they received along their way. As far back as the first half of the 19th century, many of the horses they sold originated from the villages round Mora, and especially from Bergkarlås, Risa, Vattnäs and Nusnäs. Today, manufacture is centered on Nusnäs.

It was not until the World’s Fair staged in New York in 1939 that the horses from Dalecarlia became world famous. The designer of the Swedish exhibition building was struck with an idea! Why not place a gigantic Dalecarlian horse at the entrance to the pavilion? It would certainly be eye-catching. It was. The horse was, literally, a huge success and was much photographed and written about in the international press. The next year some 20,000 Dalecarlian horses (an impressive number for the times) were manufactured for export to New York.

The Dalahast horse has become a symbol of Sweden. And the children and grandchildren all over the country benefit from the venerable tradition of woodcarving started many years ago in the deep forests of Dalecarlia.

Your challenge is the Dalahast horse. Can you make one? I'll show you what they look like but a little research on the internet may be required so you get to know them better!


Post your creation with SB022 - Horse - your name in the subject line.



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