I can often tell who is Swedish or grew up around Swedes versus who hasn’t–they either know right away that this is a Dala horse (or a Swedish horse), or they comment that it’s like a carousel horse. Which, I suppose, it kind of is–there are some superficial similarities, especially in my drawings, but they have a totally different origin.
| By Gustav.jg – Own work, Public Domain,|
The Dala Horse (Swedish Dalahäst) is a toy horse carved out of wood, originating the province of Dalarna, Sweden, that has come to symbolize Sweden as a whole. The most common color by far is red, though blue, yellow, white, and black horses are also popular. The saddle and designs are very Scandinavian, generally referred to as rosemåling (the Norwegian term), or kurbits (Swedish).
This was my second dala horse drawing, and it’s one of my favorites of the horses: simple, just enough background to enhance the subject, and clear movement as the horses run. And I have always had a soft spot for an appaloosa (the spotted-blanket-pattern on the mare’s rump).