Friday, August 20, 2010
I am home for the next few hours and then we are off again on a buying trip to Virginia for my online store. We just got back from a long trip to Pennsylvania and found some great old putz items. A Putz is the Moravian custom of building miniature landscapes in and around the Christmas tree. This custom, along with the Christmas tree, began in Germany and migrated to America with the influx of German immigrants in the 19th century. In the Moravian communities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lititz, and other Pennsylvania towns, the early weeks of December were times of great fun as the children of these communities would search the nearby woods for moss, twigs, rocks and small plants to be used in the Christmas Putz. Churches would have their big putz displays while families would build their putz to put under their own Christmas trees. These displays would include whole miniature towns and woodlands with the addition of carefully stored animals, buildings and accessories like bridges, campfires, farmyards and other things important to the 19th century home. Putz items from the 19th and early 20th century will usually be marked "Germany" somewhere on the bottom or side and one good example is this putz bridge that I recently found on a buying trip. A sheep or other putz animal would have been displayed on the bridge and a rocky stream would be under the bridge made up of rocks and sand found in the nearby woods. Other putz items that I found are a campfire and a composition horse. One of the most popular putz animal today is the putz sheep that can be found on antique websites, on ebay and in antique stores. These animals were an integral part of the putz display as they are in all nativity scenes.
Well, that's all for now as we are heading out the door on our way to Virginia!