Monday, August 29, 2011
Crossing the Fjords
Norway is a truly beautiful country with lots of mountains, water, trees, farmland, and quaint looking villages and cities. Today there are tunnels that bore through the mountains so one can drive pretty much all over the country and only occasionally have to take a ferry across a fjord. Fjords are long narrow waterways where the mountains drop straight down into the water. There are places in Alaska where the same thing occurs.
One of the more convenient methods of transportation, especially in times past, was a small to medium sized rowboat. This Eliasson postcard depicts a group of people probably on the way to church or possibly a wedding as they are all dressed up. There are quite a few recorded incidents of drowning as a result of this type of travel. Not every day would have been as calm and peaceful looking as this scene but I doubt a squall would have deterred people from their appointed destinations. Note the “skaut” worn by two of the women in the picture. The skaut was a wired headdress that married women wore and is found in the Hardanger area near Bergen.
The postcard is one issued by the Axel Eliasson Art Publishing Company of Stockholm, Sweden that began producing cards around 1870. Eliasson was a photographer then later a publisher of postcards and Christmas greetings. Many of the cards show scenes from Norway. They were originally black and white pictures that were colored in by hand then printed. This one dates from circa 1890.
Maggie Landaas Lorig’s grandmother, Kristi mor is shown below in the traditional country attire including the skaut. A plain white kerchief was stretched over the wire and then tied in the back. I believe it was worn every day. I’m not sure what I think about the attractiveness of this fashion statement. What do you think?