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Candle bearers

Light figures are traditionally an integral part of Erzgebirge wood art.

Origins

Angels and miners were first portrayed together as light bearers in a painting of the miners’ guild altar in Annaberg’s town church, painted in 1520.
Inspired by this miners began to portray themselves as light bearers from the end of the 18th century, sometimes even as self portraits. As carved candle holders they were initially one-offs, which were produced by miners after work. This is how the typical wooden miner in mining uniform with his working tools holding candles in his outstretched arms came about.
Angels as candle bearers originated in the religious sector as bearers of the holy light. They were interwoven with Christmas customs by the angel of the annunciation who was once lowered from the church ceiling during Christmas nativity plays. The miner and angel were often designed as pairs, matching in size and design.

Lichterfigur Bergmann
Lichterengel

Candle bearers as a toy

The demand for candle bearers rose when simple mining families were able to afford such a light source too due to the invention of the cheap stearin candle in the 19th century. Demand could no longer be met by the individual carving of single figures. As a result wooden candle bearers turned on a lathe appear in toy retailers’ catalogues and price lists from the mid-19th century. The first manufacturers in the Seiffen region included the toymaker Wilhelm Friedrich Füchtner (1844-1923), who was well-known for his nutcrackers.

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