The kurbits is an invented, fantastical symbol of vegetal fertility based on a gourd or pumpkin of biblical legend, principally used for ornamentation in Swedish folk art and on painted furniture and domestic objects. Very popular between 1720 and 1870, particularly in Dalarna and southern Norrland, the paintings and murals have mostly biblical motifs, such as "The Triumphant Entrance of The Queens of Sheba to Jerusalem", and the people and buildings depicted are as locally fashionable at the time of painting. They were done by itinerant painters, mainly from Dalarna, who specialized in the style and whose signatures are to be found in many localities.Today it is still used for decorating tourist memorabilia from Dalarna.
Do you love kurbits? I do. It is such a beautiful folkloric element to Scandinavian decor from the early 1800's. I associate it with the farm, nature and rich color. I will be painting my new-old leather clogs with a kurbits style I think. I bought them on ebay and I am so excited to experiment! Just need to get me some new leather paints and should be good to go. It's either that or portraits of the kids. What do you think? Also, here's a great blog by a very talented craftsperson & designer. Frida is quite an inspiration and even though her blog is in Swedish I think you'll enjoy the gorgeous ideas, and her new take on Swedish crafts http://www.kurbits.nu/. Frida just added these thoughtful words:
I would say that kurbits in general in Sweden today is patterns associated today with skillful handicraft, based on proud traditions and a long history of decorating. Without the development of kurbits and similar folk art patterns, the Scandinavian design and ways of skillfully master craft, design and handicraft today would not be as vivid and well spread in Sweden,and boldly said, out in the rest of the world. The strength with kurbits lays in the roots of the people and that is something we all can acknowledge and recognize here. We have a long history of decorating, teaching ourselves making, and making for survival in our past, today we are making for the joy of it, for the fulfillment of doing. But in all I think our history reminds us whenever we are sitting there creating, and that's why kurbits and other traces of history is so popular today.