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Schwibbogen

Like the candle holders or pyramids the Schwibbogen also became a symbol of Christmas merchandise from the Erzgebirge.

Origin

The name comes from a famous architectural component known as a “Schwib” or “Schwebebogen” (suspended arch): an arch which appears to be freely suspended between two walls. As a light bearer it has its origins in the mining tradition. For example, it was usual in the Erzgebirge for the miners to meet for prayers together on 24 December and to celebrate Christmas together. In doing so they hung their burning pit lamps in a semi-circle on a wall or directly at the mouth to the tunnel to indicate the entrance to the tunnel. This resulted in the idea and shape of a freestanding arch of lights with candles on top. Under the arch shape there was room for decorative figurative representations.

Schwibbogen
Schwibbogen

Rising popularity

The Schwibbogen has the “Feieromd Exhibition” in 1937 in Schwarzenberg to thank for its fame today, as it was looking for something typical from the western Erzgebirge as an advertising symbol and chose a Schwibbogen. As part of this, the 7 x 4 metre “Schwarzenberger Schwibbogen” was produced out of metal by the master forgers Curt Teller and Max Adler based on a design by Paula Jordan as the first large-scale Schwibbogen. It is equipped with gas lights and symbolically shows the history of the Erzgebirge in the arch. The “Seiffener Schwibbogen” made of wood that was built around 1935 at the toy college in Seiffen based on a design by Max Schanz, with the motif of Seiffen’s church surrounded by snow-covered houses, is still the inspiration behind countless light arches today in terms of motif, just like the “Schwarzenberger Schwibbogen”. The large Schwibbogen usually set up on market squares since 1960 are part of the Christmas scenery in many towns and villages in the Erzgebirge.

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