Dregeno Seiffen
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Tradition

From mining to folk art

Everything comes from the mountains. No sentence could better describe the history and the rich tradition of the Erzgebirge – and especially the region around Seiffen.

The mining industry in the Erzgebirge had its heyday in the 14th century. The discovery of tin ore deposits led to the settlement of the Seiffen area. The town itself owes its name to the bygone concept of “Ausseifen”scouring valuable metal out of mined rock.

By the 18th century, however, the ore deposits had been largely exhausted. Technical complications and falling prices on the world market did the rest, forcing the miners to develop new sources of income.

 

The rich natural resources of timber, the expertise that the miners had acquired in carpentry and the plentiful supplies of water power persuaded many of them to turn to woodturning. Initially, their skilled hands produced everyday household utensils such as containers and plates, but later they also made toys.

In the year 1699, Johann Friedrich Hiemann began transporting “Seiffener Ware” (goods from Seiffen) by handcart to Leipzig and this led to an upsurge in demand for toys from the town and its surrounding area. The sophisticated distribution network ensured that these goods soon found distant markets, including those overseas.

Pyramids, nutcrackers and incense smokers, all of which have helped to make an international name for Seiffen, were actually intended only to serve as decorative items for the miners‘ own homes. Yet anyone who has ever experienced the warm glow of contemplation generated by these works of Erzgebirge folk art will appreciate why they have won the hearts of so many admirers over the centuries.

Die Bergbautradition des Erzgebirges lebt weiter – in den prachtvollen Bergaufzügen zur Weihnachtszeit, der klassischen Göpelpyramide oder in detailreich gestalteten Bergmannsfiguren.

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