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Wonder In Wood

The miners who had been extracting ore from the mountains here since the Medieval Ages have always yearned for light and it is this yearning which is the origin of many of the motives to be found in the Erzgebirge crafts.

Should you journey through the towns and villages of the Erzgebirge at Christmas time, you would see the festive glow of numerous arcs, some of them bigger than a human being, in public places and in the windows of the houses.

 

For more than 250 years, they have been associated with the Erzgebirge Christmas and have become an inseparable part of the festive decorations. Johann Teller, a mining blacksmith from Johanngeorgenstadt is said to have made the first candle holder of this type in wrought iron about 1726. According to the story handed down, the form of the arc is of mining origin.

 

On Christmas Eve at the mine, the miners hung their lighted lamps in a semi-circle around the entrance of the mouth of the tunnel leading to the mine at the last shift before Christmas, the so called "Midnight Mass shift". The "Schwibbogen" ( Candle Arch ) which literally means "an arched buttress" probably took its name from the vocabulary of architecture.

In Gothic times, the "Schwebebogen", a buttress, was a freestanding, supporting arch between two walls


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