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November 20, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Mysterious Scandinavian Carvings

Scandinavian Wood Carving

Scandinavian Wood Carving

I have admired these wood carvings since I first visited Sister Bay, a town in Door County in the northeastern part of Wisconsin, more than three decades ago. There are at least six statues I have examined, each maybe 3 or 4 feet in height, each carved and painted and polished. When I first saw them, they looked old. Every time I return, the cracks are a little deeper, but the figures’ eyes still peer with a glimmer of character.

Sister Bay was founded by Scandinavians in the 1850s and has a strong cultural heritage. I have asked many people, the people who live in the towns up and down the Door Peninsula, for information about these traditional carvings. No one seems to have any clue. Obviously, I’m asking the wrong people. Some one must know their history.

Finally, I decided to do a Google search, confident information would turn up. After all, isn’t everything on the Internet. Seems the answer to that is no. I can find nothing. Not a thing. They remain a big mystery.

So I’m hoping that by throwing this out into the Internet universe, someone may stumble on it, and shed some light to these mysterious carvings. They are just way too cool to remain so anonymous.


  1. Sue / Nov 20 2008 1:39 pm

    Nope. I don’t have any information to share. I can certainly see why you are so attracted to them and why you find them interesting. The cracks add so much character.

  2. Marcie / Nov 20 2008 7:12 pm

    The detail in them is quite impressive..and the eyes do have a mesmerizing effect. Have no idea what they are..or what their history is. I can perfectly see what draws you to them. Thanks for sharing…

  3. Robin / Nov 21 2008 6:24 pm

    I don’t know a thing about them, but would be interested in seeing an update if you ever find out.

    They’re great carvings, with or without the mystery. I can see why you’re so interested in them.

  4. Anna Surface / Nov 24 2008 7:20 am

    Well, you pinged the Internet universe, so an answer will round about. Do these sit outside? What captures me about them are the eyes, and they each have a touch of spirit. Perhaps a bit of spirit from the carver who shared in the love of creation. 🙂

  5. Bo / Nov 24 2008 8:11 am

    Anna, they sit outside in all kinds of weather only a short distance from the forces of Lake Michigan/Green Bay.

    So far, no clues.

    And yes, their eyes are what are the most amazing things about all these carvings.

    Robin, I’ll be sure to post an update if any information turns up.

  6. quinncreative / Nov 24 2008 4:53 pm

    They have an air of friendliness about them, and lots of age. Would we could all age so well!

  7. ankush vimawala / Nov 26 2008 5:31 pm


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