"Swedish Dala Horse" A7 Christmas cards. 5" x 7". by Cherish Flieder.
Inside: The Story of the Dala Horse
Traditional Swedish crafts include linen wall hangings; embroidered cushions, clothing, and coverlets; fancy knitted mittens; carved wooden boxes and kitchen utensils with decorative painting; and carved stamps for cakes or cookies. The most pronounced living folk art tradition of Sweden is the pine carved Delecarlian or Dala horse. In Swedish it is called Dalahíst from the province of Dalarna in central Sweden. Dala carving and "kurbits" painting skills have been passed down for hundreds of years. They are still made the same way today as they were in generations past, taking nine people to hand create each horse.
The Dala horse designed by Cherish Flieder was inspired by the Dala Horse as an iconic symbol of Swedish identity and customs. The horse has been considered a holy animal in Sweden since Viking times. Early horses were carved as children's toys from the clock case industry scrap wood. Originally, the horses were painted solid colors like red, blue and grey. The Kurbit gourd vine theme flower pattern was added after the 1800's and comes from the Biblical story of Jonah.