The Amazing Dalecarlian Wooden Horse
“Unnecessary goods which serve no other purpose than to make on vain, ungodly and sinful in both mind and soul. Many fools of unwise judgement are being tricked into parting with money… these are such as: decks of cards, dice, flutes, wooden horses, lovers ballads, impudent paintings…”(translated form Swedish)
Bishop J Rudbeckius, 1624 (Västerås, Sweden)
Let me tell you a story. It starts 400 years ago when poverty and over-population forced people around the town of Mora and the lake Siljan to become tradesmen, they have become known producers of Mora clocks, Orsa grindstones, jewellery and… the wooden horses.
Little know about how the wooden horse of Dala has made its step from being craft into becoming a currency. Clocks tradesmen often used it as money and the horses were found in their trade chests together with clocks.
Delecarlian pedlars bought these horses by the dozen to be used during their sale trips for as payment for food and accommodation. This is one of the reason why the Dala horse has become so popular.
I went to the factory in the village of Talberg to see them made and it’s amazing how simple and how labour-intensive the process is.
Start with carving bulk figures
… loads of them! Okay, I could do that… or program a CNC machine:)
Then carve the actual horse torso.
… loads of them!
By the way, my engineering past craves for seeing one of these things CNCed from a solid piece of aluminium!
Put a base colour on
It is thick and very…. very chemically smelling. It’s like nitro car paint and I doubt it’s very good for you if you’re the one at the shop.
There is a separate room for each colour. There are four or five base colours.
Everything is covered in paint! See the tape recorder? I’m wondering if you could still put a cassette in;) By the way, it was working, at least the radio and I doubt you can still change stations:)
Paint the pattern on the horse
This is done by beautiful young ladies – too sexy to be shown here;)
… ah, come on! Here she is!
And off you go, we’re back in the show room! Here you can see the evolution of the Dala horse. I’m curious to know how come they’re so particular about the shape of the horse and yet every now and then the basic shape changes at an instant to remain unchange for another while!
The Lost World of the West
Next day I was on my way through one of the islands of the lake Siljan where the locals were seemingly all engaged in a competition of creating the most manicured lawn in the universe. All Swedes in the area were armed with hedge and grass trimmers, lawn movers and by the looks of what I’ve seen – scissors and nail clippers to finish the job.
It all looked so nice and I first though of just how neat these people are compared to what you’d see in similar landscapes of Ukraine and Russia… but then I’ve realised on thing.
It has not always been this way!
A man waking up and spending the day (weekend… week?) trimming all weeds around his house with nail clippers can not be right! This is wrong! Forget about the gay marriage – this should be raising people’s eyebrows!
When otherwise healthy and capable people are spending days of their lifetime doing job that has no purpose! No beginning and no end! A job that’s only done to be in-line with their neighbours who are also wasting their lifetimes on things that will not be remembered.
This perfect order may be the true symptom of the end of the Western civilisation where people no longer make things that anyone needs and are mostly engaged in pointless labour! And before you object let me tell you that that spreadsheet you’ve been working on all week is little more useful than perfectly manicured lawns I have seen today.
This horse has been made by someone in the 18th century and generations of kids played with it before it became a museum item worth millions but the perfect lawns will never be found and will never be remembered! It is not people with perfect haircuts that make this world better and to understand this you’ve got to look into the eyes of a man who can actually do something with his hands, even if it’s “just” a wooden horse! And this man tells everyone with an eco-friendly electric lawn mover who’s the bitch in this equation.
(Jun 22 2016)