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Dala Horses

Minnesota has a large population of Swedish Americans.

To celebrate the end of the winter -- or just to have a good time, several members of our club would be scrolling, the carving, then painting out Dala horses.

If you are interested, please try one out yourself!

Here is a description about its origin:

A Dalecarlian or Dala horse is a traditional carved, painted wooden statue of a horse originating in the Swedish province of Dalarna. It was near Mora that large-scale production of Dalarna figures began about 1840. The carving of the figures, primarily horses, was done by local craftsmen in their homes. Working in pine or spruce, a good carver could produce a dozen horses per day, using a hatchet and knife as his only tools. The figures were usually left unsanded. The painting was done by specialists.

When Mora-area craftsmen traveled by horse and wagon to other parts of the country to sell their locally produced clocks, baskets or spinning wheels, they typically had a good supply of carved horses, which they used as payment for their room and board. The figures thus became a kind of currency. Frequently the horses which were meant to be used as toys, were given to the children of the farmer or innkeeper with whom they stayed. In addition to paying for lodging, the horses were also commonly traded for such items as seed or wool. Upon returning to Mora, the craftsmen in turn sold the goods for cash.

In modern times it has become a symbol of Dalarna, as well as an unofficial national symbol of Sweden. Several types of Dalecarlian horses are made, with distinguishing features common to the locality of the site where they are produced. One particular style has, however, become much more common and widespread than others. It is stoutly carved and painted bright red with details and a harness in white, green, yellow & blue.

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