The Silver Treasure in Bergen, Norway

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Visitors can again admire the spectacular permanent exhibition ‘Silver Treasure’ after the re-opening of the KODE 1 building in Bergen in May, The exhibition displays beautiful objects in gold and silver, made in Bergen over the course of 500 years,.

There’s also the Singer Collection, consisting of European and Asian antiques and works by Old Masters. Later in the season the museum also re-opens the China Collection and mount new exhibitions of craft and design.

The Silver Treasure in Bergen, Norway
For hundreds of years, Bergen has been an important center for the production of gold and silver objects

The Silver Treasure
Tankards, cups, spoons and jewelry is just some examples of what you can find. The exhibition was opened by Her Majesty Queen Sonja on the 7th of May 2009, and is presented in a large display case designed by Kristin Jarmund Architects. For hundreds of years, Bergen has been an important center for the production of gold and silver objects. The Bergen Goldsmiths’ Guild, established in 1568, formed part of an international artisanal community that ensured that the pieces produced were of high quality.

The items have played a central role in both public and private rituals. The wedding ring, the heirloom silverware, and the mayoral collar are all important objects with great symbolic value. For a long time, silver and gold objects also acted as a store of value at a time when there were no banks in Norway, and in recent years they have also become popular collector’s items.

The Silver Treasure in Bergen, Norway
Important objects with great symbolic value are on display

The exhibition is based on items from a number of sources. Ever since its beginning in 1887, the West Norway Museum for Decorative Art has been collecting gold and silver from Bergen. It has been one of the museum’s most important areas of expertise, and it can now boast a sizeable collection.

A crucial part of the exhibition is the collection that Christen Sveaas and the foundation Bergensølvet (Bergen Silver) donated to the museum. It is an extraordinarily large and magnificent collection of Bergen silver, most of it dating from the guild period (approximately 1550 – 1850).

The Silver Treasure in Bergen, Norway
The exhibition is based on items from a number of sources

The Silver Treasure is built up around a number of themes, such as guild tankards, steins, spoons and jewelry, but special attention is also given to notable individual goldsmiths: Lucas A. Steen, J. J. Reimers Sr. Jens Kahrs and Christian Børs.

Senior Curator Trond Indahl is the exhibition project manager. Kristin Jarmund Architects AS has designed the exhibition.

The Silver Treasure in Bergen, Norway, source: Bergen Museum of Art

All photos: Alf E. Andresen

Feature image (on top) Photo:  Dag Fosse / Kode

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