Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72 - Garden Gnome

The legend of the Garden Gnome is not only mythological, but dates back centuries.  Earlier illustrations depict a twisted looking little old man with a long white beard.  They were even thought to look like little deformed dwarfs due to their small stature.

In Germany, gnomes were often depicted as miners. This is due to a theory that these miners, of small stature, came from the island of Crete around 1,500 BC to dig for gold and silver in parts of Europe, including southeast Germany, which may have led to the mining dwarf legend. These little people were often featured in German fairy tales, such as those told by the Brothers Grimm, and dwarf figurines were thought to bring good fortune to a home if placed in the house or garden which is why they were adopted by so many German homes.

Did you know that the pointed red hat that is often seen on garden gnomes today was formerly a depiction of the hat that was initially worn by the miners in the mountains of south-east Germany?
We don’t regard them as highly as they were historically.  The “painted” garden gnome originally came about in Germany towards the end of the 19th century when there was a large ceramic industry producing household and garden ornaments. Gnomes were extremely popular and many manufacturers started exporting large quantities around the world.

The image of the Garden Gnome did not change until 1937 with the Walt Disney Production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.  This film was based on the original Brothers Grimm tale of “Little Snow White”.  

At around the war between 1939 and 1945 is when production resumed of Garden Gnomes continued, but the image changed as well as the color.  The colors were brighter and looked more cheerful.

It was around 1960 that Garden Gnomes started being manufactured out of plastic somewhere in Germany. Now they were not only shatterproof, but weatherproof as well.  In no time at all the Garden Gnome was back on track as becoming a popular addition to household gardens everywhere.

This is Day 72's ATCs that I submitted in the 2010 Project ATC 365.


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