German Folk Art

International Orders: please email us for details
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 We import all of our German folk art and traditional wooden toys directly from the craftsmen in Seiffen, Germany. Working in generations-old, family-based workshops, these men and women carry on a tradition of wood-carving that is unique to the Erzgebirge region, producing objects of singular beauty and universal appeal. Many of these items reflect popular folk motifs, but no two craftsmen approach them in the same way. And, since all of the work is done by hand, you may be sure that each item is truly unique. 

 

The history of the Erzgebirge Mountains (Ore Mountains) was largely shaped by the mining of its rich deposits of ore following the arrival of the first human settlements. The mining of ore became one of the main ways for people in the region to earn a living back in the 12th Century. However, when the deposits of tin, silver and copper began to dwindle in the mid-17th Century and mining became increasingly insignificant, many miners were forced to turn their hand to activities like wood-carving and lathe work in order to make a living. Nevertheless their mining activities provided an endless source of subjects to be depicted in wood in the evenings. Typical varieties of local craftsmanship such as creating wood-shaving trees made arts and crafts from the Ore Mountains worid-famous.

These traditional techniques and designs continue to be nurtured with great love and creativity.

 

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    Pyramids

    Christmas pyramids are definitely the most fantastic wooden items from the German Erzgebirge. Anyone who as ever owned a pyramid would not want to spend a Christmas without one. The warm light and graceful movements create a unique festive atmosphere in every living room. There is an enchanting play of light and shadow as the light of the candles weaves its way through figurines turning slowly round and round. The entire mechanism is powered by rising heat from the candles (electric models are also available; contact us for further information).

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    Arches

    The first predecessor of Candle Arches was manufactured 1726 from wrought iron. The German name Schwibbogen refers to a type of arch constructed in Gothic times when an arch between two walls was called "Schwebebogen" (floating arch). The apperance of the arches goes back to a tradition of miners, who hung their burning pit lamps semi circularly on the pit entry hole before they started their last shift at Christmas. The Candle Arch expresses the longing of light by the miners who did not see very much daylight during their workdays. At first, everyday scenes from the life of the miners were the main theme. Nowadays the Holy Story and other religious topics often serve as themes. In addition the forest with its animals and the homeland can be seen.

    The Arches are illuminated electrically.  Some Arches even have buildings that are illuminated.

     

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    Music Boxes

    A constant source of enjoyment and entertainment, the Erzgebirge music boxes play delightful tradional German tunes. Many of the tunes are related to Christian themes as well as tunes which have developed as a result of cultural experiences.

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    Smokers

    Wooden smokers are one of the most popular collectables from the Erzgebirge. A smoker looks like a nutcracker but is able to actually burn an incense cone inside the figurine producing smoke and fragrance. The first Erzgebirge smokers were hand crafted around 1820.

    Wooden smokers just like the nutcracker are available in hundreds of different designs and characters.You will find peddlers, chimney sweeps, miners, bakers, doctors and many more.

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    Nutcrackers

    The typical German Erzgebirge nutcracker used to have a grim look and an angry mouth. The motif was usually a policeman, a king or a soldier being the authorities of the 18th and 19th century. People feared them and depended on their benevolence. It was very dangerous to criticize those authorities and fall out of their favor. The nutcracker image was a relatively safe way to express some criticism without risking ones life.

    The first Erzgebirge nutcracker was crafted in 1865 in the workshop of a family named Fuechtner. Over 120 work procedures have been necessary for the first Erzgebirge nutcracker over 140 years ago. He was a king in bright colors with a crown similar to a miners hat and wore a uniform with filigree ornaments. Fuechtner used rabbit skin for the hair and the beard as well as dough for the feet and eyes. The basic work procedure today is still very close to Fuechtner’s first nutcracker.

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    Miniatures

    Miniatures including matchbox scenes have been made in the Erzgebirge for over a hundred years and still delight children, adults and collectors alike.

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    Bears

    These endearing figurines of bears contribute to the festive sense of being, encouraged throughout Germany especially at Christmas.

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    Rabbits

    These beautifully handcrafted Rabbits are a delight, whenever and where ever they appear, be it during the Easter festive season , at Christmas as additional ornaments  or that special occasion, such as a birthday.

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    Pyramid Candles

    Pyramid Candles

    These are the four sizes for the Erzgebirge pyramids.

    If you are unsure which size is the correct one for your pyramid, please contact us.

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