A young man courting a young woman used to spend many hours carving an elaborate wooden spoon as proof of his devotion. The woman’s parents would also be interested in the young man’s skills and willingness to work; wood carving was a necessity of life in poor farming communities where most anything had to be made by hand.
After the wedding, the courting spoon was hung on the wall of the new couple’s kitchen, but wood-carving never ended. Country people took inspiration and materials from the natural world around them. The handy little table above incorporated a twisted tree branch as a decorative snake. Did the wood-carver’s wife appreciate having a snake forever in her house? Personally, I’d have relegated the snake table to the guy’s Man Cave. But that’s just me.
Then as now, getting married can be tiring work. A mannequin in the museum shows a bride falling asleep in her wedding outfit, maybe during the feast. But I’m sure she’s about to wake up full of energy to start her married life.
Happy Valentine’s Day to lovers, past, present and future!
Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!