Cyclical time at Rueloftet at Hallingtunet

Cyclical time at Hallingtunet

The attic at Drammens Museum once stood on the farm Rue in Hol in Hallingdal. It is nicely lapped and the interior is decorated with both woodcut and rose painting. It was the farm's state room and guest room and was used when the holidays were to be celebrated with guests. In the attic we have made a small exhibition about the cyclical time. One part of the exhibition is based on the primstav (norwegian calendar stick). We have found a couple of primstav, and other objects in the museum collection that correspond to the marks on the rod. We have also have axes, millstones and frying pans, associated with the martyrs of the saints in Catholic times. And then we have a fishing hook, rake, scales and many other things, which after the Reformation abolished the worship of saints, were interpreted as reminders of practical chores on the farm.

The second part of the exhibition illustrates the life cycle with photographs of the family on Rue. We see parents grow old and their children grow up and even becoming parents of a new generation. In the oldest pictures, the Rue people are dressed in the local costume, just like the ancestors who had holiday clothes, clothes and silver kept in the chests in the attic. We see the rich uncle in America, and others who traveled to the city to educate themselves and become city people with city clothes and a life course that was unlike anything in the family's past. This is how we see how people left the cyclical time and entered the new linear time.


Cycle means cycle, and we can think of the year as a cycle of seasons and anniversaries. Each year the cycle begins again, with the same seasons and anniversaries as the year before and the year after. In all cultures, people have had calendars to remember the order of the days, but not all calendars are the same. In the old Norwegian farming community, the calendar was designed as a prime stave. It was a ring or a long, narrow table with all the days of the winter term carved into one side, all the days of the summer term on the other. The anniversaries were marked with various marks.

Until the Reformation in the 16th century, the anniversaries were linked to Christian saints, and were celebrated with church services. The Reformation abolished most saints, but still in our time we celebrate, for example, Sank Hans in memory of Saint Olav. Many of the old marks were still carved into the primstaff, but now they were more reminders of various chores that had to be done on fixed days of the year: Mow the grass, shear the sheep, slaughter the animals


No life without birth and death. And no family without children who grow up, and parents who grow old. Before one life cycle comes to an end, another begins.

Everywhere, the cycle of life and the passing of families are celebrated, with maternity, weddings and funerals, but the celebrations take place in different ways. In Norway, for the sake of fertility, the bride and groom would spend the first night in bed in the barn loft, where the fruits of the work on the farm were kept. The first born was to be born nine months later and was named after his grandfather or grandmother, as the case may be. The neighbors, who had brought delivery to the wedding, now brought maternity porridge to the mother. And when the parents died one day, the wives came again with a shipment for the grave beer. In the yard everyone drank the toast of the dead and then followed the horse that drove the coffin to the grave. The noble boy took his father's place in the high seat, and the eldest girl inherited the largest inheritance. Perhaps it was the son on the neighboring farm who one day came with the horse and fetched her and her chest of equipment and held a big wedding, while the younger siblings had to go out and seek happiness in the big world.

Rueloftet is a loft living room from Hol. It is a combination of living space and loft, which is typical for Hallingdal. It was Pål Asgrimson søre Rue (1727-1798) who had the attic room built around 1770. On the first floor there is a guest room, in the attic the farm's valuables are to be stored, and the bride is decorated. Kristen Aanstad (1742-1832) from Gudbrandsdalen was commissioned to carpentry and rose paint the furniture. He was a Haugian and decorated the attic with biblical texts and the builder's name both above and below.

Pål Asgrimson søre Rue sold the farm to his brother Ola as early as 1773, and in 1843 Ola's grandson's son sold the farm before he, as one of the southernmost in the village, went to America. The buyer was Torstein Halvorson s. Berg. In 1920, Torstein's son Knut sold the loft to the Drammen Museum, where it was set up in 1932.

The photographs depict Knut Torsteinson and his family in three generations. They were skilled and enterprising people, and although the elders are dressed in the traditional costume, they are already on their way into the new era. Knut's brother Halvor went to the United States where he made a fortune in saloons and became the local handyman

benefactor. He himself was a master sawyer and fireplace mason and also sat for a few years on the lord council. His grandson Knut was named after his grandfather, as tradition would have it. But in 1962, the young Knut had a driveway built up to Myljo Rue and he bought a motor mower and an agricultural winch. But he and his wife Anne had no children, and the farm was sold by the family.

We thank Bjørn Furuseth from the Hol local history archive for invaluable help with the photographs of the Rue family and for permission to use them in the exhibition.

The marks on the prima staves vary somewhat, both from place to place and from period to period. The exhibition in the Rue loft is based on a primstaff in the Drammen Museum's saling which is dated 1609. At that time, shortly after the Reformation, opposition to the worship of saints was at its highest, which can be seen from the simplified marks on the staff. In the exhibition, some typical marks have been added, and others have been changed to clarify the symbolism.

By the middle of the 19th century, a thorough mechanization of agriculture began in Norway. Technical innovations and a new way of thinking reached from the cities to the countryside. Many realized that it was no longer enough to do as the year before, and follow father and grandfather in everything; modernization pressed on and you had to keep up with the times. But not the cyclical time with its yearly repetitions; The belief in progress is based on a linear time that leads us forward, and that will never come again.

Curator: Mikkel B. Tin

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