Last week-end was midsommar in Sweden, so I decided to write a blogpost about a pretty souvenir I brought with my from Stockholm last February, when I attended the Meet the Blogger Conference. You can read my other blogpost about Stockholm here, here and there.
The little souvenir is called dalahästen in Swedish and Dala horse or Dalecarlian horse in English.
I was in the small log-cabins deep in the forests during the long winter nights in front of the fire, that the ancestor of the Dala horse was born. Using simple tools, generally a knife, toys were carved for the children. The fact, that many horses were made was only natural, because the horse to them was invaluable. In the older days, the Dala horse was mostly a toy for children, but nowadays, it is a symbol for the kingdom of Sweden. The earliest reference of wooden horses for sale is from 1624.
The pattern of today is about 150 years old and it reflects a style of painting known as "Kurbits". In 19th century, Sticka-Erik Hansson introduced the technique of painting with two colours in the same brush. Even today the Dala horses are painted this traditional way.
Today's Dala horse is still a handicraft article, made out of pine, and at least nine different persons have contributed with their skills to create the horse.
At the beginning, I wanted to buy a black horse or maybe a blue one from the flea-market:
But then, I had to choose a traditional red one, as it much better stands for the swedish style - So I found this one at Grannas:
And now it lives on my bookshelf in my living room, in front of my red books:
Granna A. Olsson Hemslöjd AB (were I found my horse) was founded in 1922 and is today the oldest company making Dalecarlian horses.
Speak to you soon.