The plaster ceiling “the Four Continents”

The ceiling tells a story.

  • Rensing av tak i Bybygg (Foto/Photo)

Two plaster ceilings from the 1600s, currently in the process of renovation, will greet visitors to “Timescape 1600-1914”. One of the ceilings depicts the seven virtues that provided moral guidance on how individuals should act. The other depicts the four continents that were known in the 1600s when Australia was yet to be discovered by Europeans.

“The four continents” represents the world as it looked and was understood by Europeans and Norwegians in the 1600s. Each part of the world is depicted with different symbols. Europe appears as the ruler of the world in the shape of a woman holding aloft a sceptre. Asia, Africa and America are surrounded by wild animals. Similar representations are also found for example in European atlases from the 1600-1700s.

The ceiling is dated 1662 and was originally found in Kongens gate 5 in Oslo. It was transferred to Norsk Folkemuseum in 1917, where it was immediately installed in the exhibition called “the Urban Collection”. Who the creator of the ceiling might have been is a matter of some debate. It could have been Jens Jensen Vind, a Danish plasterer, at the time known as a dønniker, who arrived in Christiania in the 1630s and was still living there in 1665. 

  • Europa (Foto/Photo)
    (Bilde 1 av 4)
  • Asia (Foto/Photo)
    Asia (Bilde 2 av 4)
  • Afrika (Foto/Photo)
    Amerika (Bilde 3 av 4)
  • Amerika (Foto/Photo)
    Amerika (Bilde 4 av 4)