Education
8:07 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Nutcrackers on display at URI

"In the beginning, of course, it was to ward off evil spirits. That is why the nutcrackers actually look kind of fierce. You know, you see all the teeth."

If you’re looking to continue the holiday spirit you might want to check out a special display of German Christmas figures at the URI library. The display contains twenty nutcrackers, an orchestra of angels, and a collection of cute incense smokers.  
Retired URI professors Gerald and Sylvia Krausse collected the figures which are all from the Ore Mountains in Germany. Nutcrackers were first created in these mountains and were used to crack nuts but also served another purpose.
 “In the beginning, of course, it was to ward off evil spirits. That is why the nutcrackers actually look kind of fierce. You know, you see all the teeth.”
The oldest piece is a 100-year old figure of a miner that was given to Gerald Krausse by his father. According to Sylvia Krausse carving these figures is now an industry in the region.
“It evolved because when the mines were no longer operating it became more of a real industry. And now in Seiffen, that is one of the towns we went to, just about every other house was a factory where they were carving these little figures.”
The figures fill up five cases in the lobby of the main URI library. The cases also include carved incense burners and an angel orchestra. The exhibit is free to visit and will be open to visitors during normal library hours through the end of January.
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