Tiny man

Tiny man, standing tall under the sun. Waiting. What are you waiting for? Waiting for us to see you? How did you catch that sun around your neck?


How I love the eye of whoever it was who placed this little figure like this, next to a wall and with lighting that gives such a dense atmosphere around it.

The scene is The Swedish History Museum in Stockholm. In the basement, you find the Gold Room. Jewellery, coins and other objects of gold (> 50 kg) and silver (> 200 kg) on display, the earliest from the migration period, 400-800 AD (this figure dates back to that period).

This figure is small, not more than 6-7 cm or so (appr. 2,5 inches). I refer to it as a man, but it might as well represent a woman, I really don’t know.

It stood in the lower corner of a display, in the shadow of an impressive, attention seeking collar. Had it not been displayed like this, I might have missed it. I certainly would not have been inspired to blog about it.

Why do I blog about it? (Obviously not because of the photo quality, I had wanted to offer you a sharper one.)

Watching literally kilos of precious metal in one go is blinding, almost too much.

This little man looked so human and humble. Lonely in his corner, but also rich, with that golden collar around his neck. Patiently waiting. For sure carrying lots of stories. He looked small, just like we are small, under the sun.

I just wanted to let you know that he is there, and that I saw him.

(Am doing some research and hope to be back with more about this little figure later on…)

13 thoughts on “Tiny man

  1. Hello G . It’s all in the tiny details sometimes isn’t it . I think it is the creative jeweller’s eye you have which made you see Tiny Man like that . He is so ancient but contemporary too in design . I agree that he is in the most perfect position with the lighting and shadow play … great vision .


  2. The comments tab for the next post seems to have disappeared – i wanted to say that you forgot to mention yourself in that chain you were thinking about, because you brought this man to us. He is really exquisite! thanks you for your thoughts and the photos..


  3. Thank you Gunilla. Lovely to see this. Made me go and have a look at Te Papa, my national museum’s collection on-line. I have wonderful memories of going to the old museum in Wellington, New Zealand, as a child and being quite spell-bound by this sacred place filled with amazing objects. I especially remember the Pacific room which was filled with artefacts that were both beautiful and threatening (masks, spears, clubs as well as intricate carvings, musical instruments and jewellery) – mostly made from bone, shell and wood.


    • I’m glad to hear this inspired you, Stella! And thanks to you I just had a look myself at Te Papa online, and see that there are loads of things to discover there.
      So special, those childhood memories from museums. Today, museums are getting so good in telling stories and giving the objects some more context – I love that.
      Thank you for the Te Papa tips, much appreciated!


  4. Gunilla, this reminds me of seeing at exhibit of Egyptian gold work years back. In fact, unpacking a box I still had in my studio from my last move, I came across the old exhibit catalog, and I was still floored by what I saw! Your “little man” figurine is great and I love that you chose it to blog about here. What a cool museum to have close by you!


    • Wow, that exhibition must have been something very special! Amazing to think what craftsmen were able to do at that time. I wish we could have a peak to see how they were working, what tools they used, how did they get the metal hot enough to solder, did they have issues of rivalry or “copyrights” among them, etc etc?
      I had the chance to re-visit this museum again this summer as we were on holiday in Sweden. I had been to the Gold Room many years ago, but had forgotten about it (how could I forget that, I wonder????). Next time I should make sure I have more time.


  5. Thank you for sharing, I wanted to be there to see it for myself, yes the lighting is very thought provoking and well presented, it sounds a fantastic place. I very much look forward to reading the results of your research, great stuff.


    • It is a fantastic place to visit, actually the entire museum is very nice and well worth a visit. I run a bit short of time in the Gold Room this time, but am glad I didn’t miss this little figure!


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