Set of African Ring-Turned Animals
Ring-turning – a very special craft.
‘Ring-turned’ animals have been made by generations of Seiffen craftsmen on wooden lathes using a very special technique. There are perhaps a dozen people today who know it. It started to be used at the end of the eighteenth century, and flourished in the 1850s. The ring-turner takes moist fir-wood in which he first of all cuts precise grooves and notches with a variety of nails. In this way the wooden ‘ring ‘ takes on the shape of the animal in question. The raw figures are then cut from the ring with the aid of a hammer and knife. The skilled toy-maker then carves them to shape with a knife and hand-paints them – the result is groups or herds of attractive animals that you can make a whole zoo out of, or a Noah’s ark. Our animals come from Christian Werner’s workshop in Seiffen – he’s an undisputed master of his craft. The toys are packed up for protection in the wood-chips that are left over from the carving process.
Toys from Seiffen.
A traditional craft from Seiffen, a small German town in the south-east of Germany, is ring-turning, which we’ll describe in detail later. Even today – just as in the 18th century – the visitor to Seiffen will find round the back of most of the houses a workshop where the ring-turner (often in his spare time) makes these world-famous toys by hand – a genuinely local folk tradition that’s almost unique in Europe. The typical shapes and motifs of the toys have their origin partly in the area’s long history of tin-mining, partly in the actual shape of the lathe. We have selected the following articles from two of the many family businesses in Seiffen.
Article Number 26096
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