People living in the medieval diocese of Stift carved distinctive patterns on stone panels: flower-like patterns that wind across the stone, which we now call liljestenar (tree of life slab) and are completely unique to Västergötland.

 

One good place to get a closer look at these tree of life slabs is at Forshems museum. Here you can see gravestones, stone sculptures, staff cross slabs, grave covers with crosses, portrait gravestones and tree of life slabs. They all come from the area around Kinnekulle, where Christianity was adopted at an early date and in which there are many medieval churches. The stones in the museum date from the 11th to 18th centuries and are all made from local sandstone and limestone. Easy access to stone from the mountain meant that the production of stone graves, sculptures and fonts developed early here, and then spread to other churches in western Sweden.

Forshems museum is run by the Church of Sweden from a small white house opposite Forshem church. Parking is available at Forshem church. Admission is free, but a voluntary contribution to the museum is welcomed.

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