main content

Traditional wood art

Homes are festively decorated during the Christmas period. Pyramids, nutcrackers and Räuchermann incense burners are set up, while stunning candle arches light up windows.

The nutcracker

Eine Sammlung traditionell bemalter Nussknacker-Figuren.
Among the most popular forms the nutcrackers take are gendarmes, soldiers or kings.  ©

The nutcrackers, with their fancy, brightly painted uniforms and fierce facial expression have become an integral part of Christmas decorations. This traditional representation of the nutcracker originates in the unique living conditions of Ore Mountain residents – following the closure of the ore mines in the late 19th century, the Ore Mountain dwellers had a lot of money worries and problems with the authorities. They made wooden nutcrackers depicting law enforcement officers. In the blink of an eye, these nutcrackers were able to symbolically crack large nuts the same way the creators themselves had to.

The Räuchermännchen incense burner

Ein klassisches grünes Räuchermännchen steht im Kunstschnee.
Räuchermännchen come in many different forms, representing professions such as bakers, teachers or hunters.  © ChristArt / Fotolia

The Ore Mountain Räuchermänner (»smoking man«) incense burners, also affectionately known as »Raachermannl«, have their origins in the traditionally strong Christian beliefs of the region's inhabitants. They were used as a convenient way to burn frankincense, transport the incense more easily, and prevent house fires. Today, the artistically designed Räuchermännchen are internationally synonymous with fragrance, and create a unique atmosphere in homes.

The candle arch

Beleuchteter Lichterbogen mit weihnachtlichen Holzmotiven.
Traditional candle arch with elaborate jigsawing.  © Gerhard Seybert / Fotolia

The candle arch (Schwibbogen) is considered a symbol of Christmas throughout the entire Ore Mountains. Thousands of them light up the windows in the often snow-covered towns, conveying a feeling of warmth and security. In times past, people would be guided by candlelight throughout the day, both at home and in the ore mines. The first candle arches were designed as festive lighting for important holidays, and symbolised the entrance to an ore mine.

The Christmas pyramid

Elektrisch betriebene Holzpyramide leuchtet in der Dunkelheit.
Christmas pyramids can be decorated with classic wax candles or electric lights.  © Matthias Rietschel

The Ore Mountain Christmas pyramids also create a festive, cosy vibe during Advent. They mostly depict Christian motifs, such as angels or the birth of Jesus Christ, but can also feature secular themes, such as miners at work, animals in the forest, or scenes from the everyday lives of the Ore Mountain dwellers. No matter their size or themes, the even rotations of the pyramids soothe the soul.

Back to top