blogging, Painting, Traditional Art

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Time Capsule

Swedish church in stockholm
Tãby Church, Stockholm

Almost a decade ago, I was wandering around the backblocks of Stockholm’s upmarket outer suburbs and discovered a place of significance in Viking times. A living Time Capsule.

Rune Stone Causeway in Stockholm

At around 100 metres long, the so-called Jarlabanke’s bridge, in Täby, Sweden, is a causeway or bridge, lined with ancient Runestones.

It was designed to be an extravagant reminder of the power and prestige of a Viking chieftain named Jarlabanke Ingefastsson, who owned much of this area, way back in the 11th century.

It is presumed that the purpose of the runes is to catch the eye of passing travellers and impress them. This site must have been especially significant as it was also the place where three Viking families, battled it out for supremacy of the area.

Wooden Viking Scultpure

Four remaining Rune stones line the causeway as some were moved to other locations. One Runestone was taken to Greece by voyaging Vikings who worked as mercenaries for the Varangian Guard.

Another stone stands at the threshold of the church and depicts two serpent creatures enclosing a Latin cross. This was considered to be evidence of Chieftain Jarlabanke’s wish to ensure his entry to the afterlife. Perhaps he was undecided about which religion to follow and chose to hedge his bets honouring both Christian and Pagan practices.

Symbols of the old religion and Christianity are often found together on rune stones, evidence of transition in belief systems.

Wikipedia

Rich Medieval Ceiling Decorations in Swedish Churches

The Church adjacent to the Runsetone Causeway has a rather plain exterior which belies the treasures hidden inside. Here you see but a glimpse of the richly decorated ceiling.

Older churches in Scandinavia often have frescos, or traditional art, decorating their ceilings. They were painted in the day when many members of the congregation were illiterate and this pictorial representations of bible stories was used as a way to communicate religious teachings.

Norwegian Rosemaling in Churches

At times, Lutheran Priests lamented the striking beauty of the frescoes and decorative art, especially that seend in Norway and known as Rosemaling. Certain priests ordered for the rich decoration to be painted over in plain colours, or whitewashed. This was, presumably, to stop the congregations’ mind wandering over the artful decorations and allowed them to focus instead on the Priest’s words.

The art within Scandinavian Churches gives but a glimpse into the past, a Time Capsule of historic Times.

The ceiling, walls, pews, and altar inside the Church in Lesja, Norway, and the fresco near Trondheim are yet another example of a time capsule.

Student Time Capsules

When my sons started high school, they buried a box of items – a piece of writing, some questions to their future selves, and some small object of significance to them in a box to be opened on their graduation day. Another snippet of the past in the form of a Time capsule.

What would you put in a Time capsule?

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Theme

The theme for this fortnight’s blogging challenge is

TIME CAPSULE

Document what you might put in your own time capsule in words or photographs, share a snippet of your local area’s or chosen point of history, somewhere you visited or something of interest that has been swept up in time.

Remember that this challenge is not restricted to photography. It can be a recipe, story, (fiction or non-fiction), or art.

Instructions for the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

Write and publish a post inspired by the prompt, tagging your post Friendly Friday.

Include a ping-back* here and also add a comment below, pointing the way to your own blog post.

*NB. You must ping-back to this WordPress post itself, as ping-backs to the home page of a WordPress blog don’t trigger a notification. That is why a comment here is good practixe so that we can find your post.

This challenge runs for two weeks after which Sandy will post a new prompt over at her blog The Sandy Chronicles.

Further instructions on joining in are found on the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Page.

Blog challenge Friday

99 thoughts on “Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Time Capsule”

  1. I know here in New England many of the beautiful churches were painted a drab brown and the frescoes were totally painted over so as to not seem ostentatious or prideful. Art for A time here was considered “worldly”

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    1. You highlight another reason for the traditional art to be overpainted, Joseph. We seem to have a small hangover of shunning prideful feelings even today. Particularly in Norway boasting or feeling proud seems frowned upon.
      How sad the art was painted brown of all colours. Have they rescued some of the frescoes, as they are doing or have done in the old Danish churches?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Coming across such treasures is such a delightful happenstance, especially when travelling. Although I did see a few of these church ceilings in Sweden, the runes and attached history made this onne stand out in my memory. It was as if the spirit of the old Viking warriors wasn’t so far away. I wonder if you’ve travelled in this area?

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    1. Hilarious, Peggy. We probably had a few time capsules of our own stewing in the linen cupboard before we moved house. When I cleaned up, I found all my old university assignments from the eighties. Why ever did I keep them?

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  2. Such fascinating history. This had be thinking about my own possible Viking ancestry – my maternal grandfather was a Yorkshireman and I have received surgery for dupuytren’s contracture

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    1. Derrick, it is without a doubt you are a Viking! Dupuytren’s contracture is a highly inherited condition and is thought to have been carried by the Viking as they interspersed through Europe on their travels! My mother has this condition! I thought my Viking ancestry was paternal but it seems it comes from both sides. Do you know anything about your Yorkshire ancestors?

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      1. I can only take my Yorkshire ancestry back to the Boer War. They were an engineering family. You may know, however, that there are numbers of Viking graves in the North of England, notably Cumbria..

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            1. No I am afraid that I don’t know Bill Nighy, Derrick. I will google him. Funny isn’t it, if we said we would google someone twenty years ago we would be thought of as mad.

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    1. Thank you, Sofia. I feel sure that I will post more about Scandinavian art. I made a separate blog for most of the posts, though, as not everyone is as obsessed as me about this art form.
      I like that you have joined in again. I always enjoy visiting to check out your interpretations.

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  3. Love this post! So many things from buildings to diaries can become time capsules!
    When we bought this house, destined to be an inn, as the renovations were coming to an end, the new millennium was about to begin. We held a big bash, and asked everyone to bring something for the time capsule, a trunk that was quickly filled. We left it open for the year, others visiting us brought little tokens of life with them and in they went. Letters, a dollar bill, masks from the party, a beanie baby, Walkman with CDs, floor plans from the house, lots of interesting things made it in. The next New Year’s Eve, we sealed the trunk and put it in a little cupboard that we boarded up. Instructions on where it is will be left with the deed, and there’s a little note on the cupboard to open in 100 years!

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    1. I like the way you have engineered the creation for this time capsule. That is awesome. I would not have thought to put the instructions for the opening with the deed. That’s clever and no doubt will happen in 100 years. I feel sure that whoever is in charge of the inn will be so very curious about the contents. Imagine finding the walkman? Kids today don’t know what a walkman is, let alone teens from 100 years time! Fantastic story, Dorothy. I think this would be great to write this up on a post on your blog, along with a 100 year old recipe!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a great idea! I will certainly think about it, and look for an appropriate 100-year-old recipe. We actually made one for the party from a cookbook from our village from about that time period. The first owners of our house held a Century Harlequin Ball in the house at the turn to the 20th century. We found the story in the library archives. We created a facsimile of what we thought that invitation might look like along with our own invitation to our Grand Masked Ball, costumes required. We actually had a few harlequins take us literally from the original invite! My family went as the Clue board game characters. By the way, the CD in the walkman was “Thriller.” Best, Mrs. Peacock

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Masked ball and special invites sounds great! It must have been exciting preparing the invites and the costumes. The family as Clue board characters is very creative!
          Thriller, hey? That would raise a few eyebrows! Great song, though.

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  4. The ceiling decoration amazes me. And surprises me. I think of such artwork in Italian cathedrals, but obviously it was in many countries. The past continues to inspire when you let it. I love this post.

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    1. Thanks Ally! I know what you mean. I was surprised that it was so commonplace back there. Clearly the Renaissance movement incorporated artistic decoration to religious devotion. The Norwegian Rosemaling evolved from ideas and itinerant artists from the continent during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, then developed its own flavour. The frescoes dated from earlier times.

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  5. Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Time Capsule

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, Something to Ponder About wrote:

    > Forestwood posted: ” Tãby Church, Stockholm Almost a decade ago, I was > wandering around the backblocks of Stockholm’s upmarket outer suburbs and > discovered a place of significance in Viking times. A living Time Capsule. > Rune Stone Causeway in Stockholm At around 100″ >

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    1. Thanks Donna! It is sometimes a little difficult to come up with a novel theme, especially when there are so many challenges in the blogosphere, but it is always interesting to see how each participant interprets the theme.

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    1. I know what you mean, Alejandro! The brushes for the Norwegian Rosemaling did not come from a factory. The artists made them by hand, using the hairs from a cow. It is said that you could not find a cow in the Telemark regions that had any ear hair left. The Telemark artists were prolific.

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  6. I have a lot of keepsakes, a sort of time capsules you might say, but I’ve never like buried something or kept closed away for years….It might be a great idea to do a sort of time capsule for the kids, like, hide it away and give it to them when they turn 18

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the history & the artwork of these beautiful buildings & areas. I think I would lay on the floor for hours just admiring the amazing detail of the paintings on the ceilings of the buildings & the ornate architecture.

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    1. You could absolutely lie there and admire the work on the ceilings. I have a friend who works in another Swedish Church with a ceiling like this one and does exactly that. (She happens to live across the field from the church so it is easy for her to access it).
      The art is really a treasure.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes they do. In Jylland in Denmark, they were the last of the Danes to drop this practice, in the late 1800’s. It is both harder and easier to trace one’s ancestors. There was not just one family name, but knowing the patrynomic name one could establish the father’s Christian name. There were elements of a continuous surname if the same family lived on a farm for many generations as they tacked on the farm name to their own name. Then this became the chosen surname when they gave up the patrynomics. My Icelandic friend knows her family history as an oral history. It was taught to her by her mother in song form. No need to research past ancestors. I think that is a special treasure!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, not eactly, Brian. Danes have lots of precise records in the smaller parish churches dating back to the 1400’s. In addition, the government used to take regular census every 5 to 10 years so they could conscript young men as soldiers if needed to defend the realm. Thus, one can track ancestors even when they change their name every generation. Even illegitimate births are recorded accurately as the sole Mum could name the father who would then be required to take financial responsibility for the bub, even in the early 1700’s. There was no welfare then. Several of my ancestors were the local Priest’s assistant – the Degn, (do you know that term?) As such, they were often the ones taking the census in the small rural villages, so I can be pretty sure of the accuracy of my lineage, despite illegitimate births. I have posted something about my Danish family on a secondary blog at my WordPress account.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Good. Trust Scandinavians in general and the danes in particular for precision… 😉
            And responsability. Naming the father? Well done.
            Degn sounds like the same word (or a cousin) as Deacon.
            Do you have the link to your lienage?
            Cheers.

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            1. Yes, the Danes in Jylland are similar in precision to the Germans, Stands to reason though as they are neighbours. Still there is a lot of mistrust after the war.
              I do think you would call the Degn a Deacon. Yes there were a few Degns, which seems to be a somewhat heredity position for a few generations before they had a wayward son! Ha!

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              1. Mistrust after the war? You bet. In many countries in Europe. Germany has become a strong ally, but some old people still hold resentment. Just about anywhere I think.
                Herditary? How strange. But then the Tramp pushed his daughter and son-in-law everywhere.

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              2. It may not have been straightforward inherited position. I suppose that as the child of a Degn, one would have the advantage of being able to read and write and as such in a small poor rural village, you might be the likely candidate to replace your father? The wayward son clearly had other ideas. He fathered 13 or so legitimate children before fathering my Gr. Gr. Grandmother illegitimately. She was the milkmaid working and living at his farm. It was also a pattern I noted that continued for another generation – with one of his legitimate sons who immigrated to New Zealand branch of the family. He was married and had three children. Wife was sent to an institution ( for epilepsy in those days). He took in a very young housekeeper and went on to have eight illegimate children to her!

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              3. Yes reading and writing was scarce until the end of the 19th century in Europe. I seem to remember that in the 1800’s 40% of the population couldn’t read or write.
                Now about illegitimate offspring… The literature is full of those stories right? Balzac. Dumas. Ibsen maybe? (Haven’t read him)
                And the maid was an easy prey always.
                Sigh.

                Liked by 1 person

              4. Women had such few rights, didn’t they? Especially the lower classes. It makes me sad to research it, but she (my gr. gr. Gran) it seems made her way out of poverty and travelled across the world to join her son and daughter out here in the New World. Her son – my gr grandfather was quite a successful businessman for years, which must have pleased her greatly. Such were the opportunities for getting away from the reins of class stigma in Australia. I think many Irish folk could attest to that.

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    1. The traces we leave behind. For most of us, it is almost nothing and I suppose in a way that is the most environmentally sound way to be. To leave no trace and walk lightly on the earth. If we do want to leave a trace – well that is an entirely different matter. Be that a time capsule, book, artwork, legacy. One thing is our children are the traces of us, and they carry with them the vestiges of our presence in their lives.

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      1. Indeed. The legacies we leave. It’s just like our sermon considerations this past weekend, from the Parable of the Mustard Seed from Mark chapter 4 – we plant seeds but we don’t necessarily see what happens to it after that. If we are fortunate, we get to see the lovely tree that grows from it. Otherwise, we just have to trust that it will provide much needed shade and beauty to those who follow us.

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