The Nutcracker Kings
The Nutcracker Kings
The variety of German nutcrackers is vast. There are firemen nutcrackers, nutcrackers with bagpipes, miner nutcrackers, robber nutcrackers and many other kinds. Among these German nutcrackers is a category that stands on its own. It is the German king nutcrackers. This category contains many kings, archdukes, or emperors of Germany/Austria. The German nutcracker kings include Archduke Johann of Austria, King Ludwig of Austria, Emperor Franz Joseph, King Friedrich Augustus of Saxony, and King Otto of Bavaria.
The first German ruler nutcracker is Archduke Johann. He was born in 1782 in Florence, Italy and he later became the archduke of Austria. The archduke loved agriculture and mountain climbing. He was a simple man, not given in to the demands of upper society. He associated with everyone and established many buildings in Austria, later integrating himself into industry. He preached freedom for the people during the March Revolution of 1848. However, he resigned from his position of director the following year after the revolution failed. Johann died in 1859. The Archduke Johann German nutcracker displays an unwavering but kind expression, one that says he is ready to fight for the rights of his people.
King Ludwig is the second king German nutcracker. King Ludwig II, also known as Ludwig the Mad, (name inherited because some people thought him crazy) was born in the Nymphenburg Castle in Germany in 1845 and became king when he was eighteen years old in 1863. Having led a harsh childhood filled with stress and strictness, he clung to his love of the operas. Richard Wagner, an opera producer he admired, soon became his friend. However, his happiness soon turned sour when Wagner was forced to leave Bavaria. During the mid-1800’s, Ludwig faced war against Prussia which ended in a treaty. Towards the end of his reign, he isolated himself in the Alps and built several castles, including Neuschwanstein, an enormous and gorgeous castle, after which the movie Sleeping Beauty mirrored itself. After being diagnosed by doctors as medically insane (the truth yet remains unknown), he died in 1886 of a mysterious cause (the official cause was suicide). The King Ludwig German nutcracker portrays a crowned king standing tall with a fur robe around his shoulders. He carries a sword in his right hand.
The third German nutcracker is the Emperor Franz Joseph Nutcracker. Franz Joseph was born in 1830 and became emperor in December of 1848 when the Hungarian revolution had ended. Although Franz’s mother wished he would marry Helene, he married Princess Elisabeth, Helene's sister instead. Soon, however, their marriage became unhappy and Franz had a mistress. Franz faced wars against both France and Prussia. In 1853 an assassination attempt was made on his life. However, even though his brother, son, nephew, and wife all died, he managed to become king of Hungary and to finish his reign until his death in 1916. The Emperor Franz Joseph I German nutcracker displays an older man with a beard and graying hair. He wears a bright red uniform with a high collar (his life was saved by this high-necked collar) and yellow pants.
King Friedrich Augustus of Saxony is the fourth German nutcracker. Friedrich was born in 1750 and took his father's position as Elector of Saxony in 1763. After forty-three years, he was elevated to King of Saxony. In 1769 he married Countess Palatine. He led a fairly unsuccessful reign marked by defeat in 1813 and lost much territory in the country. He died in 1827. The Friedrich Augustus king nutcracker portrays a much older man with stark white hair. He wears a crown atop his head and is dressed in fine regalia.
The King Otto Nutcracker is the last German nutcracker. Otto I was born in 1848 and became King of Bavaria in 1886. His younger brother, Ludwig II, was king before him. When Ludwig II died, Otto took his place as the king of Bavaria. Since doctors decided that he was insane in 1875, Otto did not rule the kingdom on his own. Having been a victim of mental illnesses throughout his life, he stayed in the Furstenried Palace, always under a doctor's care. His unrealistic reign ended in 1913. Three years later, he died. Dressed in ruling attire, the King Otto German Nutcracker has a jewel hanging from a chain on his neck. A saber hangs from his left side.
These five rulers sum up a very small portion of the history of Austria/Germany. They are each considered important in the development of the countries and thus, nutcrackers were created to honor their memories and lives. All of these nutcrackers are intricately carved and delicately painted and each one is unique and represents a different era. These German nutcrackers were created in the Erzgebirge Mountain village of Olbernhau, Germany by the famous craftsmen of the region.
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