Here it is, Christmas Day. Santa with his team of eight reindeer, all nine pieces candy containers, is usually displayed on my dining room table at this time of year. The containers would have been filled with candy for the children. Fine workmanship and painting of the German papier-mache reindeer makes this set very special indeed.
I wish everyone the merriest of Christmases!
Santa's elves are hard at work today, being Christmas Eve. Here is a rare grouping of German papier-mache elves (Wichtelmaenner), each one a candy container. One holds a feather tree sprig, another has on his work apron holding a shovel, and the one in the foreground is resting on a red wooden sleigh. Great detail in the faces and clothing of the molds used to create the candy constainers, as well as brightly colored clothing with hand painting. Ca. 1900.
It's getting close to Christmas and about time for Santa to make an appearance under the tree. Here he sits atop a German wooly sheep, but a very special one on rockers. I've only seen one other example, although I'm sure there are more out there. A real collecting craze has begun in the last few years over these fleece-covered sheep. Christmas and primitive collectors alike absolutely love them!
Early Erzgebirge ferris wheel, ca. 1900. Simple colored dots decoration is all you need to turn this into a great piece of folk art! The hand crank turns the blades, and the wooden buckets full of colorful riders swing gently. A fun child's toy, to be sure.
Children no doubt spent hours playing with this Erzgebirge zoo, circa 1850s.The buildings (cages) are constructed out of thin wood and hand painted. Again, beautiful pieces of folk art. There are little metal hooks at the front of the cages on which the wild animals were to have been tied. The elephant would have also had a thin chain around his neck. There would have been several more buildings, wild animals, trees and male figures to tend to the animals originally as a part of this set. I feel very lucky to have found these pieces as, again, these play sets received a lot of hard play and, thus, are extremely hard to find today.
This German windup toy shows an unusual subject matter, a man on wooden skis wearing a helmet embossed with the Iron Cross, dating the piece to about 1915 during World War I. The celluloid hat and head is all one piece on a body of wood with papier-mache hands and wooden legs and feet. No doubt a gift to a little boy at the height of the war.
Thuringian German soldiers skittles set, ca. 1890s, in amazing condition, considering the goal is to knock these men made of papier-mache over with a ball. What a fun game for a little boy!
This Erzgebirge Chinese acrobat toy, called Treppenpurzler by German collectors, is a hard to find piece to find, and was made in several variations in the mid 19th century, but always with Chinese acrobats. Mercury inside the body allows the acrobat to flip head over heels from the top level to the bottom. It comes neatly packaged in its own paper-covered box which, when opened and set up, becomes the steps on which the acrobat performs. The bright colors of the acrobat and the wooden stand on the top level make the toy very appealing. The acrobat's vest is of paper, the head of papier-mache, body of wood and clothing of silk. It must have been a very expensive toy in its day and still commands very high prices.
This fierce lion has fascinated all my grandchildren as toddlers. These German toys were made in many sizes, most commonly with roosters in cages the size of one's hand. This lion is housed in a wooden cage measuring 16 inches tall, probably the largest size made of these mechanical caged animals. He stands on a platform facing to the left with cage doors closed. When a wooden lever on the outside of the cage is pushed, the platform is released and pops forward pushing open the gate while the lion's head nods and the mouth opens to reveal his teeth. The lion is covered in soft hide with a beautiful fur mane. Thin paper simulating stacked rocks covers the wooden box on the bottom of the cage which houses the mechanics. A great kids' toy we enjoy even today!
Welcome to Living Tastefully’s “Antique of the Week” page. Our love of antiques is reflected in every aspect of our everyday lives. We are passionate about collecting and also love functional antiques that can actually be used and not only admired. Hopefully we can inspire you to incorporate antiques in your home and your life to add charm and beauty to your surroundings.