Steinbach Nutcrackers At Corrick's
According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home. The legend says that a nutcracker represents power and strength and serves like a trusty watch dog guarding your family from evil spirits and danger. A fierce protector, the nutcracker bares its teeth to the evil spirits and serves as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.
“Don’t be afraid, my beard is long, my head is large, my look is grim but that matters not. I won’t bite you. In spite of my big mouth and grim appearance, I look with my heart for your happiness.”
Nutcrackers embody the ‘Cycle of Life’, As the seed of a nut falls to the ground, it grows into a strong tree, living over hundreds of years nourishing the woodcutters and woodcrafters. The legends tell of a feast celebrated just before harvesting the logs of the Elder trees, where nuts and fruits were eaten as if to pass on the magic and mystery of this eternal cycle … and so on to the collectors of these exquisite wooden nutcrackers.
Nutcrackers reflect ancestral dining customs where amusing or unusual nutcrackers were part of the social setting adding a whimsical conversation piece as guests lingered over the desert course which included sweetmeats such as pecans and hazelnuts.
Writers, composers and artists sang and danced the praises of the legend of the Nutcracker beginning with the novel “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written sometime between 1776 and 1822, by E.T. Amadeus Hoffman. This novel became the basis for Tchaikovsky’s magnificent “Nutcracker Suite”, which debuted as a ballet in St. Petersburg in 1892 and lives on as a holiday tradition throughout the world.
“If you sit down under one of these trees you might hear the rush and rustle of the tops, telling you about the German legends and the history witnessed by these trees,” says Herr Steinbach.
The Steinbach Family Of Artisans
For most of two centuries the Steinbach family has been producing fine wood products. Today, Herr Christian Steinbach heads the family operation carrying on the tradition with his daughter Karla. Karla Steinbach, who is Vice President is being groomed to become the sixth generation to head the company, after her father retires. Together they oversee product development and quality control at the factory now located in Hohenhameln in the northern region of Germany.
Originally from Austria, the family dates back to Erwin V. Steinbach, a famous architect and master builder of the “Muenster” or Dome of Strasbourg in 1284. Through a series of wars, the Steinbach family was forced to relocate several times. Being Lutheran Protestants around the time of the Reformation they suffered religious persecution. The family included architects, builders, merchants, judges, politicians, and military men. The mettle of the family is evidenced in this quote: “If one does not work hard to earn the heritage, one will perish in the end or at best hold the stirrups for those who are on their way up.” That fortitude was rewarded over the centuries.
The family settled around the Erzgebirge, a mountainous mining area which at one time was. part of East Germany. This region was rich in gold, silver, tin, cobalt, and uranium, as well as timber which was needed to support the ceilings of the mines. As the metal supply dwindled, many families were forced to turn to the trade of wood-working. Wood carvings, used as souvenirs, gifts and for religious purposes, were popular since the 11th century. The lathe became readily accepted by the people in this forest area and furthered the development of the art. Thus a new trade of wood-turning was established in the 15th and 16th century under the rule of Elector August the Strong of Saxony. It became so popular that a decree was published permitting wood-carving to only be performed by native craftsmen and their families.
Imported German Steinbach Nutcrackers