Swedish Dala Horse

Swedish Dala Horse


A large Swedish data horse, decorated in the traditional ‘kurbits’ style.

Carved wooden horses have been made in the Dalarna region of Sweden for hundreds of years, with the earliest written record of the practise dating back to the 17th century. Initially, the horses were carved as toys for children and would have been undecorated or simply painted in red or white. However, as local craftsman realised their value as items for barter the decoration became more elaborate. Legend has it that the first horse to be painted in the traditional 'kurbits' style was decorated by a local painter hired to embellish a house with traditional folkloric patterns and motifs. When he had finished the job, a child of the household asked him to decorate his carved horse, so that it could be as pretty as the horses the artist had added to the walls. The painter did as the child asked, and the iconic design was born. In the early 20th century, the Dala horse became an international symbol of Sweden after it was used as nationalist motif in various World Fairs.

This example measures 21 cm high and 20 cm long.

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