Nutcrackers

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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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