Dala horse

From Hildas hem
Time to talk about the most iconic of Swedish items - the "Dalahäst" - or Dala horse, or even the Dalecarian horse according to Wikipedia (Dalecarlian horse).  Everyone with a Swedish background has one of these standing around, or several, from the old country.  Here's a picture of a big brute in Mora, Dalarna that I copied from the blog Hildashem.se, but most the horses are much smaller, just big enough to place on a window sill or a shelf.  The horses are more than a simple wooden statue, they are a symbol of home.  I guess that's why they are so beloved by Swedes.  Here's one being made:
The style of the painting is "kurbits" which you can read more about here
I just love my horses, two oranges ones, that follow me from house to house.  Here's one of my little guys next to a bunch of Swedish things I made or gathered over the years.  Check out the plate too!
I learned in Wikipedia that the earliest references to the wooden horses are from 1623 when they were made by woodcutters in the province of Dalarna near Mora.  They made toys for their children, mostly horses, sometimes pigs or roosters and they were later painted in the kurbits style with a saddle and harness. It was a cold, severe winter and as King Charles XII of Sweden waged war throughout most of Europe many soldiers were quartered in private homes around that area.  When success of his bartering toys for food reached the other soldiers ears they started too.  Now this has become a major industry of Mora and Nusnäs in Dalarna where over 250,000 horses are made annually.

Someday I plan to go there, but in the meantime a little on-line shopping never hurt anyone.  Here's one shop where you can buy a Dala horse of your own: http://www.designsofsweden.com/shop-by-category-all-things-dala-horse.html


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