Folk art, customs and crafts
As early as the 16th century, miners used the stone- and wood-working skills derived from their profession in their leisure time or periods of unemployment to ensure an additional or new source of income through handicrafts, primarily woodcarving. Motifs from the miners’ working life, the miners themselves or special events, for example Christmas, were adopted and thereby produced the unique Erzgebirge folk art. Textile production, lacemaking, stained glass and tin casting emerged alongside woodcarving.
Motifs from the miners’ working and daily life also influenced the development of folk poetry and folk music in the Erzgebirge. Many of these traditions and their history live on today. Testimonies to them are important folklore collections but also the traditions of miners’ parades, Mettenschicht (last shift before christmas) and miners’ choirs that are kept alive by miners’ and works’ associations or other associations and groups. Folk artefacts that emerged from mining or were influenced by it include mining figures, Schwibbögen (finely carved candle holders), pyramids and incense-burning figurines.