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The nutcrackers from the Erzgebirge have achieved exceptional fame and popularity.


Figuratively designed nutcrackers did not appear in the Erzgebirge before the mid-19th century, at least there is not any evidence in sample books, price lists or any originals from this era. However, their predecessors can be found in the nodding figures from the Rhön region, the Oberammergau jumping jacks and the grotesque figures from Gröden in Northern Italy, which are all figurative representations and equipped with a moving lower jaw. It is also possible that the Thuringia nutcrackers, in existence since 1735, served as inspiration. The fact that nutcrackers are associated with Christmas may be due to their increased use for baking during the Christmas period.



The first Erzgebirge nutcracker turned on a lathe, in the style so famous today, was created around 1865 in the workshop of Wilhelm Friedrich Füchtner (1844-1923) when trying to reproduce the nutcracker from Heinrich Hoffmann’s story “King Nutcracker and Poor Reinhold” (1851) out of spruce wood. The result was the prototype of the nutcracker “King”. Füchtner’s nutcrackers are distinguished by their clear basic shape and the characteristic painting in red and yellow or blue and orange. The tunic is decorated with simple dots and line ornaments. The King’s headgear is the same shape as the miner’s pit hat, which is turned into the King’s crown by the golden notches painted on it. The eyes, moustache and feet used to be moulded out of bread dough. Rabbit fur was mainly used for the beard and hair.

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