A century later, while King Charles XII of Sweden waged war throughout most of Europe, many soldiers were quartered in private homes in the Mora area. These soldiers would barter for food with wooden toys that they painted with harness and saddle.
The Dala horse has become symbolic of this region of Sweden, and indeed of Sweden itself. It is often used in signs on houses in that country and decorated with house numbers of the family name of residents.
The horse is still a popular item with lovers of Scandinavian design and ethnic crafts, made famous in the United States during the New York World's Fair of 1939. A Dala horse was placed outside the Swedish pavilion and caused such a stir that over 20,000 were shipped to the U.S. the next year.
I found some at The Swedish Wooden Horse Company that are delightful. The multi-colored ones are perfect for holiday decorating, and a set of white or gray ones would be perfect on display in a modernist setting year round.
From dalahorse.com and theswedishwoodenhorse.com
|White Dala horses|
|Red Dala horses|
|Blue Dala horses|
|Pink Dala horses|
|Gustavian grey Dala horses|
Watch this video to see how Dala horses are made: