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Tomten (The Gnome)

Tomten (The Gnome) Painting image

Tomten (The Gnome)
by Ulf (2020)

The gnome is a familiar figure, beloved by many, with a history in Folk traditions that is as old as the ancient little man himself... Called Tomte in Skandinavia (plural "Tomtar", "Tomten" is the definitive form — i.e. "The Tomte", and "Tomtarna" definitive plural) The name translates roughly to "Home Sprite". In Scandinavian folk-lore these beings are believed to help take care of the house and the surrounding land — but only if the homeowner reciprocates by leaving him food, mind you, otherwise he would bring harm to the household to teach'em a lesson or two. (Tip: Tomtar love porridge, especially with a good dollop of butter on it)

Many scholars believe that the Tomte originated as the ancient European worship of a household deity — probably an ancestor — worship that predates even the belief in the Aesir! In this ancient custom, food would have sometimes been placed on the hearth — The place in which it was believed that the spirit dwelled. This was especially done during the winter solstice (Yule); From this tradition, it is easy to see how the Santa Claus stories would eventually spawn, especially when we take into consideration that another name for the Tomte — "Nisse" — is related to the name "Niels" (i.e. Nicolaus)

Shown here, standing atop a table and staring out a window — The gnome strokes his beard, perhaps pondering his place between the infinite microcosm and the infinite macrocosm...This meticulously detailed and beautifully composed piece by Ulf truly captures the peace and creative energy of the Folkish household — filled with rich symbology and tokens of European folklore and mythology — this is a highly contemplative work that is well worth taking more than a second glance at. — Truly a one of a kind piece, that is sure to be the delight of any Folk household and it is only available at Grotti Mill Productions.



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