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Incense smokers

The burning of fragrant and spicy substances has been very important to people since time immemorial. It is part of the rituals of many cults and religions and has been established in many secular customs.


Besides the enjoyment of the spicy fragrance, the reason for the sudden appearance of incense smokers was mainly the popularisation of smoking in the 19th century.
Although 17th century paintings prove that tobacco was already not just consumed as snuff tobacco but also as pipe tobacco, smoking was not one of the usual everyday pleasures for a long time and was only practised in private. Smoking has only been tolerated in public since the 19th century. A man with a tobacco pipe in his mouth became a common phenomenon on the streets and quickly became a popular motif in figurative representations. The incense smoker also quickly became very popular as a result. The “birthplace of the incense smoker” is in the Erzgebirge, while later centres of incense smoker production can be found in the Erzgebirge and in Thuringia.

Räucherpilz Schnitt

Structure of a incense smoker

Incense smokers consist of two separate parts that are placed on top of each other. They are made predominantly out of hard wood without using any heartwood which could crack as the heat builds up. The upper body’s raw form with head is turned on a lathe out of square timber, the figure’s stomach is hollowed out afterwards. The incense cone that is placed on the bottom part of the incense burner will later glow inside the hollowed out stomach of the incense smoker. A “channel” leads from the hollow stomach right up to a round mouth opening where incense “smoke” comes out. Afterwards the legs, arms and base are turned on a lathe, the headgear, nose, shoes, attached pipe etc. are made separately. After they are put together they are polished and primed and finally everything is colourfully painted.

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