THE WORLD'S LARGEST REED CROWN - THE GUINESS WORLD RECORD - PROUDLY EXPOSED IN ULTIMA THULE GALLERY, TALLINN

The World's largest Reed Crown or Himmeli was built in Tallinn at the St. Martin's Day Fair, in November 2019. Artist Urmas Veersalu and the Estonian Folk Arts and Crafts Association worked together during 4 days and created a Guinness record-worthy masterpiece.

The captivating 3-dimensional graphic masterpiece decorated the offices of the President of Estonia during Christmas month and from January 2020 it is proudly exposed in Ultima Thule Gallery, the space and showroom of Northern art, design and lifestyle.

After almost a year of waiting, an official confirmation arrived in September 2020 proving that the reed crown made in Tallinn is indeed the largest in the world, The corresponding certificate sent by the Guinness Book of Records is proudly exposed besides the masterpiece in Ultima Thule Gallery.

 

The Reed Crown was built by trained volunteers under the guidance of Urmas Veersalu and all the guests of St. Martin's day fair could also participate. About 1000 people were involved in building the crown. The twenty volunteers taught fair makers how to build the smaller octahedrons, which were then attached to one another using linen thread to build the record-breaking structure. In preparation for the attempt, they created a Himmeli which was a quarter of the size in order to test its structural integrity and the logistics of attaching the smaller Himmeli together. In terms of planned dimensions, it was supposed to be the largest reed crown ever built in the world.
The colossal craft measured a whopping is 5.96 m³. The record-breaking Himmeli ornament was made up of smaller octahedrons that contained 12 reed pieces. 1,834 of these small octahedrons were used to build the full size Himmeli ornament, which consisted of 22,008 reed pieces all together. By the end of the attempt, the ornament weighed a hefty 12.00 kg.

Crafting Himmeli ornaments is a long tradition in Estonia, which is why the organisation chose to build this structure. “In Estonia we have had great traditions in Himmeli crafts for more than a hundred years and we decided to popularize this eco-friendly craft,” said Urmas Veersalu, a member of the Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union. For the attempt, they used common reed found on Estonian islands and coastlines to construct the ornament.

Originating from the Swedish word himmel, meaning heaven or sky, these traditional ornaments can be found in Nordic and European countries. In ancient times, crown crafting was brought to Estonia by coastal Swedes but the internationally used name “himmel” was given to ceiling decorations by Finns. In Finland, crowns are made from rye straw, as in Lithuania. The uniqueness of Estonia is reed. Crowns were made for Christmas, weddings and Easter to protect and hold good spirits.