Foroyar National Museum - part II

Torshavn Travel Blog

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Baptismal font made in Norway in the 1100s and 1200s and found throughout Foroyar until the 1700s.

The weather was nasty, this morning. It was raining in the usual Fororyar fashion. I had made plans to the go back to the history museum for a private viewing of the treasures of Kirkjubour and the national costumes. So, I prepared for my day with possible thought to going on one last jaunt ……somewhere, maybe Sandoy or a village on Esturoy. I packed a lunch for on the go and had a bit of breakfast.

 

I walked down the pedestrian street to the now quite familiar roundabout with the metal sculpture of the ring of girls, holding hands and holding their heads back.

 

I caught the bus #2 (not the 100 or 200 as Bradt suggests as they don’t exist) which snaked along the ring of the valley and climbs the mountain to the viewpoint of Kalbakfjordur and Nolsoy.

Pine Crucifix stored in Eidis church and submitted to the museum in 1836. It is said to have washed ashore several centuries earlier
It is a quick walk across the street and down the hill to the museum.

 

I went in and removed my wet outergear and found the curator. He asked me to wait about 10 minutes and he would open the section for me. I waited patiently as I was getting a private viewing, yeah!!!

 

He returned shortly and took me to the first level and turned a section of switches on and opening two large black doors. He said to take my time and to enjoy.

 

The first section had a baptismal font from the 12th centuy brought to Foroyar but, made in Norway. Also, an induction cross from Kirkjubour and a silver cross from the 16th ��" 17th century.

Detailing on powder horn - hunting theme - 1646

 

There were also some bridal ornaments from the 18th century, made of red velvet. This was a wealthy person. Included in this is a broach with an unusual shape for Foroyar design.

 

There was an interesting yard stick used as a standard for measuring. The Faroese yard which was the Hamburg yard, which replaced the Norwegian yard in the late Middle Ages.

 

In 1840, this bone arrow with iron tip washed ashore embedded under the wing of a great northern diver (bird). The arrow originated in Greenland.

 

A really unusual herb grater was apart of the collection it is wood with bone inlay of a dog on the lid.

Made from 2 guilded silver plates with an engraving of Mary and Child on the fornt and a Jesus monogram on the back. It was buried at Vestmannahavn. Submitted to the museum in 1894.

 

A controversial finding, a pine crucifix, stored in Edlis church and submitted to the museum in 1836. This was said to have been washed ashore several centuries earlier.

 

A ½ meter long power horn was found, belonging to the legendary priest, Clement Laugesen Follerup. It is made from ox horn and has various scences on it, including a hunting scene. The owner’s name and 1646 are engraved. The date, 1652, and 2 jesus monograms were added later with a priest’s mark.

 

A fantastic silver medallion made from two gilded silver plates with an engraving of Mary and child on the front and a Jesus monogram on the back. It was found buried in Vestmannahavn. It was given to the collection in 1894 by the chief of police of Foroyar.

 

The only treasure found to date was discovered in the churchyard of Sandur village in 1863.

Detail on Bishop's Chair - built in 1300s.
The sheriff noticed a green lump in the ground of a newly dug grave. The find contained 98 silver coins and a silver ribbon, apparently buried around 1100 under the flagstone of a house. This site had been later buried under the churchyard.

 

The church fittings of the Faroese Episcopal residence in Kirkjubour (today’s parish church) were removed upon renovation in the late 1800’s. Parts of the fittings were sent to the Musuem of Northern Antiquities. The remaining rest here and are considered to be Foroyar’s greatest national treasure.

 

There is a bishop’s chair that was used as a confessional in the 1700’s and 1800’s that had been converted from a side altar from the 1300’s. The detail on it is amazing. There are flowers, Celtic design elements, and Gothic elements all combined.

 

Also, a highlight, the 13th century processional cross that was fashioned from wood and covered with copper.

It has circular and bead elements on it and holes where jewels would have once been placed.

 

The rest the magnificent collection from Kirkjubour is the many pew ends and desk ends. They weren’t all originally church furniture as one of them had original duty as a bed staff. Some had been painted or parts of them painted. One had been identified that its original placement was a church in Bergen, Norway.

 

Another significant treasure is the Madonna and Child statue from the parish church in Kirkjubour, which for a period of time was the Cathedral of Foroyar. It is thought to be of English origin and dated from 1250. Traces of the original painted surface gives an idea of the statue’s original colorful appearance.

 

The national costume section shows the many differences between everyday dress, work clothes, and dressing for celebrations.

Men's festive clothing from the late 19th century
Some of the designs would be right at home in today’s fashion.

 

There is a small collection of bonnets for festive wear from the early 1900’s. They aren’t so cute!

 

The everyday wear is full of gray and brown but, the festive wear is just that, very colorful. They were enjoying life in these clothes. They look amazing.

 

It’s a bit sad, that in this day, most of us don’t do this. I guess it takes a community to have such a festival. It’s a rare place that celebrates community. We could learn something from this.

 

In the early 20th century the Farsoese dress evolved. It became a fusion of the everyday and the festive.

Not many owned this new fashion of Faroese dress except for those who were representing Foroyar in an official capacity. It wasn’t until after World War II that more people made it apart of their wardrobe.

 

What a wonderful collection. I felt that I had learned a bit more about the history and culture of this great country. I’m fortunate to be allowed the viewing.

 

I thanked the curator and told him how much I enjoyed it. He asked me the usual question that I’ve gotten, “Why did you decide to come to The Faroe Islands?” I explained my interest in travel and learning more about the world. I told him that I had visited countries around Foroyar and found it, by accident,  as someplace that I hadn’t been that was in between. I researched and found it to look like an enjoyable journey for me and it has been. He told me that he was glad that I came to visit.

 

I returned to the nasty weather now made worse by a terrible fog that has rolled in……pea soup!

 

I walked to the bus stop and caught the bus to the center of town and walked to the bus / ferry terminal.

I wanted to consult with a transport representative concerning my planned route to Sandur on Sanoy. It would take a bus to a ferry to a bus and then the reverse. This sounds simple but, in Foroyar, it’s just not that simple. The transport matrix is very complicated. I found a lady that has helped me several times. She smiles her recognition of me and asks how she can help. I explained my entire route, segment by segment, and she confirmed that it was possible but, she warned that I could not miss the second of my two ferry options from Skopun (village of ferry point on Sandoy) or I would be without a bus back to Torshavn. I told her that I understood and did not want to walk back to Torshavn, especially in this mess!  She smiled.

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Baptismal font made in Norway in t…
Baptismal font made in Norway in …
Pine Crucifix stored in Eidis chur…
Pine Crucifix stored in Eidis chu…
Detailing on powder horn - hunting…
Detailing on powder horn - huntin…
Made from 2 guilded silver plates …
Made from 2 guilded silver plates…
Detail on Bishops Chair - built i…
Detail on Bishop's Chair - built …
Mens festive clothing from the la…
Men's festive clothing from the l…
From the ruins of the Medieval Cat…
From the ruins of the Medieval Ca…
Siver crucifix and chain (16th - 1…
Siver crucifix and chain (16th - …
Bridal ornament from Kalsoy. Red v…
Bridal ornament from Kalsoy. Red …
Guilded siver broach - an unusual …
Guilded siver broach - an unusual…
Bonnets - stitched from 2 or 3 pie…
Bonnets - stitched from 2 or 3 pi…
Festive bonnet - late 19th century
Festive bonnet - late 19th century
Festive clothing from late 19th ce…
Festive clothing from late 19th c…
Festive shoes
Festive shoes
Ladies festive design elements - n…
Ladies festive design elements - …
Artistic use of National costume -…
Artistic use of National costume …
Kirkjubour - on the southwest coas…
Kirkjubour - on the southwest coa…
Torshavn
photo by: davidx