This is a little story about horses and cows. About Dala horses and stupid cows, to be more accurate. Very stupid, greedy cows indeed. But let's start with the Dala horses...
I first spotted a Dala horse on a pack of swedish crisp bread that friends brought us as a souvenir from their scandinavian holiday. Without knowing anything about the background of the horse-image, I immediately loved it's colors and shapes, so I gave it a nice display in our kitchen.
As it often goes, after seeing the horse for the first time, I started spotting it in other places too. I saw some of the horses in wood as decoration material over at the dutch Ikea, I saw a poster with the horse at a friend's house and I saw many of them in the apartments shown in Jeu de Paume's 'Stockholm Apartments'. It must be a bit of a famous horse, I thought, but still I had no idea of how famous it really was.
Then I started noticing the horse on flickr. First these two great examples:
And a little later I saw this gorgeous print, called 'We love you Dala horse':
Getting more and more curious about this so-called 'Dala horse', I did a bit of googling and wikipedi'ing. And as the swedish among you probably already know since you were kids, the Dala horse turns out to be a very well-known symbol of the swedish province Dalarna and of Sweden as a whole. The horse is usually (hand)made of wood, and painted in bright colors, with folkloristic patterns. They have a long going tradition (swedish kids already play with them for ages), and they come in many sizes and colors.
I think the Dala horse is very decorative, and the fact that it has such a long tradition, yet looks so contemporary makes it even nicer. I found quite some beautiful examples of how the archetypical horse-image is used in different contexts. A little gallery:
Stylish couple in black and grey, photo by bratli
, and decorative on a tote, photo by peabag
So much for now about the pretty Dala horses. But what's with the stupid cows, you may ask? Well, there's only one actually, and you probably already have guessed who that is.
Me, of course.
It's just, that after seeing all this Dala goodness, I really wanted one for myself, and I wanted it fast. I had a look at some swedish giftshops online, but I was a little shocked by how expensive they were. Handmade of course, I forgot...
A quick look at Ebay learnt that there were offered a lot of Dala horses there, also some really nice vintage ones, and that they were a bit cheaper on Ebay but still quite popular, with a lot of bidding going on. Impatiently, I thought: let's try and bid on a few... I didn't want to pay too much, so I placed a lot of relatively low bids, hoping that somehow one of those would be succesfull.
And I was lucky, cause within a few hours, this nice vintage Dala horse was mine:
But a little less lucky was that this horse turned out to be the first in row of a whole herd of Dala horses that would be coming my way... Basically all of my haphazardly placed bids became winners, and in the days after the reckless bidding, the 'Congratulations! You won a Dala horse'-emails kept popping into my mailbox. I believe the storm is over now (I've been in desperate hiding), but the score is a little more than I could have wished for: no less than seven Dala horses will be sent my way...
So anyone who's still looking for a Dala horse (or has become an enthusiast after reading this): feel free to send me an email with a nice offer... ;)