Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sweden--the Vasa Museum

Once upon a time there was this Swedish king who felt that for political reasons, he needed to flex his muscles show the world the power and might of his reign. So he commissioned a mighty ship, covered with meaningful carvings and equipped with 64 canon able to fire from the 64 gun ports along the ship's sides. It was launched on 10 August 1628 from Stockholm harbor, caught a gust of wind and heeled over but righted herself. The second gust of wind did her in, water rushing in the gun ports flooded her decks and took her down with most of the crew and guests. You can read the full story here

When we walked into the room, I stopped dead. I have never been so awe-struck over anything including the birth of my two boys. By way of explanation, my father was a master carpenter and I love wood and wood carving. This ship was covered with marvelous intricate carvings, every one of which had meaning--either of royal might or royal lineage or royal benevolence.

And the original carvings were painted!

The stern today

The stern as it would have appeared in 1628

They didn't have acrylic paints so used ground minerals and salts mixed with oils and any substances they needed to preserve the color.

They found about 15 bodies under the ship, some of the clothing, and many of the day-to-day objects needed for life aboard a ship in 1628. I discovered a glove liner that was created using nalbinding. No photo because the museum is kept on the dark side to preserve the objects, and flash photos help to speed the deterioration of those objects.

And I leave you with this..... the ship was certainly a testament to his power.

1 comment:

Donna Lee said...

What an amazing ship. All that work and it didn't get sailed. I like the look of today's more sleek ships but the detail on that one (my husband is a wood worker) is beautiful.