historic rosemaling art norway
History & Traditions

Wisdom from the Past in Traditional Art

Norwegian Decorative Art of Rosemaling

In traditional art, it was a custom to have a saying or Proverb decorating the border of a bowl, utensil or piece of furniture. Especially this is seen in the old decorative art of Norway, called Rosemaling.

Telemark Rosemaling
Rosemaling by Bjorn Pettersen

The following words of wisdom were indicative of a social art history as they were penned by the artist of that time and reflected their thoughts and values. A time capsule of advice.

Norwegian Proverbs on Rosemaling Decorative Art

Wording old traditional art rosemaling norway wall

Here are a few to ponder:

Alderen kjem ikkje aleine; han fører så mye med seg.

Age comes not alone; it brings so much with it.

 –Det gror ikke til på veien mellon gode venner.

On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.

 –Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.

Noone can help someone who will not help him/herself

Too much cleverness is foolishness.

For mye klokskap er dårskap.

Norwegian Traditional art form Rosmaling on wooden plate with proverb saying on border

Curious to know more about Rosemaling, an art form that has experienced a Renaissance in America, particularly the Norwegian areas of the Mid-West?

Find more here