February 11, 2015


As I was reading Carl Larsson´s books (well, more looking at the pictures than reading) I came across this interior with Dala paintings, the kind called kurbits. Dalarna is a Swedish region known for its particular kind of peasantry decoration style, or allmoge, of which kurbits painting is a part. It is used for furniture, wooden boxes, tapestries, grandfather clocks, and so on. It has its roots in the baroque styles of decoration and the word originally means cucumber or pumpkin plant.

I lived for most of my childhood in Dalarna and my mother-in-law lived there for almost twenty years (raising her first batch of children). Some traces of this has survived in our home. We have a kitchen cupboard inherited from the mum-in-law, originally painted in a colour called dalablå. It more like verdigris now, and when I decided to vamp up the dining table by painting it the same colour, the one most like it that I could buy was called Mint Green.

When I was a child, there was a printed hanging in the hallway leading into the kitchen with a kurbits painting of The Queen of Sheba. Or, as it was called, "The Queen of Rich Arabia visits King Solomon with gifts". These biblical motifs were very popular, and the bible story characters were depicted as if they were inhabitants of 18th or 19th century Dalarna. Very charming. I now have that hanging in my kitchen, one of a few reminders of childhood that I cherish.

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