The carved wooden horse is an ancient and genuine work of Swedish folk art, once made throughout the country, but later solely in the district of Dalarna. Today, the "Dala horse" is one of the best known symbols of Swedish culture.
Long ago, the horse was both highly valued property and a symbol of status. A horse could be the difference between life and death in a wild and fierce country without roads, and with long distances between settlements.
In some Nordic cultures, there were religious horse cults. The Viking expansion depended on good weapons, fast ships and strong horses. During the Middle Ages, the horse became a symbol of wealth and power for the entire culture, cherished by kings, knights and farmers.
A profound love for horses lives in the Swedish soul. A horse is not only valuable property but also a working partner and trusted friend - a magical character in art, poetry, song and legend.
No wonder, then, that people carved wooden icons of the horses!