Angels and Miners from the Erzgebirge

Angel and Miner candleholders are very popular decorations in the Erzgebirge at Christmas time. A pair of them are often placed together in a window. In the past they were only lit by wax candles, but today you can also get electric ones with a transformer. And you can replace real candles with LUMIX LED candles.

Angels and Miners come in different variations. Whether large or tiny, coloured or in a natural finish, richly decorated or in a simple design - there is a pair here for everyone.

There are also some very modern designs, particularly for the angels. Like our lace angels with robes decorated with real Plauen lace.

Particularly splendid are the angel and miner candleholders with a yoke. This is a small candle arch that takes at least four candles. They carry these yokes on their heads or their shoulders.

The angels and miners with bells are also very special. These figures each hold a pyramid in their hand. The heat from the candles drives it round and strikes the bell.

The best known manufacturers are:

  • Wolfgang Braun
  • Volker Fürchtner
  • Andreas Hegewald
  • Johannes Ulbricht, now Volkskunstwerkstatt Eckert
  • Zeidler Holzkunst GmbH

The story behind them

Angels and miners come from a long tradition in the Erzgebirge. Like many things in the Erzgebirge, their origins are closely linked with mining. The miner candleholders came first, in the 17th century. Usually cast in tin, they were to be found as candlesticks on altars in churches. Later, in their carved form, they were placed in the windows of working families to light the miners’ way home. They represent the miners’ longing for daylight, which they sorely missed during their long hours underground.

The angel candleholder has a religious background. Here, it made an appearance originally as a heavenly messenger, the angel Gabriel. In Seiffen, in a carved form it also took the appearance of a flying angel. It was said to provide divine protection for miners as they went about their hard and dangerous work underground.

Both of them were looking for light – albeit for different reasons. And so, in the middle of the 19th century the angel was placed next to the miner, as his wife. The look of the angel candleholder is strong influenced by the Biedermeier period. Tiny waists and floral dresses were typical of this time. Even the apron that often makes an appearance was a popular fashion accessory then.

An earlier popular tradition in the Erzgebirge was to give babies, when they were born or when they were christened, an angel for a girl and a miner for a boy. These were then placed in the window so passers-by outside could see how many children lived in the house.

 

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