A book about KJENGER

Welcome to this web-site where you can read about - and order - a new book on a ceremonial drinking vessel from Western Norway called KJENGE. The book is written in Norwegian, but contains a large number of photos of these beautiful drinking vessels. Included in the book is a 4 page insert in English, that provides a summary and insights into how the book is built.

To order the book:

Send an e-mail to sverre.strandenes@gmail.com, including name and address. The price for the book itself is NOK 499, excluding shipping cost. Shipping cost and details will be provided, based on shipping address.


Sverre Strandenes

About the project:

Some years ago, the idea of writing a book about KJENGER started to materialise. In this project more than 500 items have been systematically catalogued, photographed and described. 480 of them are included in the book. Drinking vessels from museums and private collections are included, and as far as possible original owners and place of origin have been established. The objects themselves are interesting, but they also have a story to tell and thus they constitute an excellent vehicle to learn more about history, culture and folk art from the time period 1600 -1900 when these objects were in use. 

KJENGE is primarily a drinking vessel for beer, carved out from a whole piece of wood. The hollow body is normally round with two curved handles, one on each side of the body. The most typical shape of these handles are symmetrical horse heads, but there are also quite a few other shapes. Drinking vessels were made from different types of wood, and the perfect material was what we call a “kåte” or “rikule” which is an outgrowth on the trees where the fibres are twisted and thus particularly strong.

Beer has a long tradition also in Norway and was important both in social and ceremonial contexts. The ceremonial role of beer was strengthened through magical symbols carved on these drinking vessels, and the combined effect was supposed to protect and strengthen the owner, as well as secure a fertile and rich crop.

There is a wide variety of KJENGER, and their shapes and decorations reflect fine craftmanship among the farmers during a period with very challenging living conditions.

Whether poor or rich, it was important to have a well-crafted drinking vessel. These drinking vessels, together with the beer, are evidences of an important part of the Norwegian cultural heritage.