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Medievel Objects in the Protestant Church


Heddal stave church, Telemark County.
Probably mid 13th century.

This elaborately carved bench has probably been placed in the choir of Heddal stave church from the Catholic period until long after the Reformation. It was later moved to the guest house on the wealthy Hove farm, which was later moved to Norsk Folkemuseum. The carved interwoven ornamentation partly consists of pre-Christian motifs. On the back of the bench there is a depiction of Gunnar in the snake pit playing on a lyre with his feet.

Censer redone to a candlestick

Tanum church, Vestfold County.
Probably 15th century. Candle holder added after the Reformation.

During the first period after the Reformation, many valuable Catholic objects were removed from the churches. However, in many places the parish members protested. They were fond of their old religious artefacts, and wished to keep them. Burning of incense had no part in the Lutheran service, but yet there exist a number of medieval censers that have been given another function – for example as candlesticks, or as containers for embers.

Bridal Crown with Images of Saints

Probably made in Bergen.
About 1520. Top part renewed in the end of the 17th century.

Bridal crowns were used by the upper classes in Norway from the Middle Ages until the end of the 16th century. Later the custom only continued in rural areas. The lower part of this crown – in gilt silver with images of saints – was probably made ca. 1520. It was still in use after the Reformation, but the top part was renewed in the 17th century. Worship of saints was forbidden in the Lutheran Church, but saints lived on in folk tradition.