Collecting: German Klöppelfrau Raucherfigurs

Made by H.K., Germany.
5-1/4″ long, 3″ wide, 7″ tall. She is holding a lace pattern in her hand.

This rather scary looking figure is a Raucherfrau, meaning ‘Smoking Woman’. This uniquely German concept is actually an incense burner, although the idea comes off a bit better when the figure is a man with a pipe.  In English they are known as ‘smokers’. I’ve been able to find four interpretations of bobbinlace maker Raucherfraus, and am writing this piece primarily because I finally built up the nerve to actually try one out.  This involved buying a box of incense cones (they come in many different scents), disassembling the figure, placing the cone and lighting it, and reassembling the figure.  All the while trying hard not to burn down the house. The smoke lasted about ten minutes.

Herstellung und Berkaus, Handwerksschau im Seiffener Hof.
5″ long, 3″ wide, 6.5″ high. She is taking a coffeebreak from her lace work. The smoke comes out of the stove’s chimney.

A fourth Raucherfrau lacemaker has just come to light
and I’m revising the post to show it (12/11/2010). I don’t
have much information on it. The maker’s initials appear to be F.K.

Made by KWO, Germany. 5-1/2″ long x 3-1/4″ wide x 6.5″ tall.
The incense cone fits into a small metal dish on top of the stool.
The pillow has been turned around in order to see the bobbins.

The German lacemaker figures are overwhelmingly made of wood, and I will be doing several posts on them. Raucherfigurs are fairly steep in price, generally over $100.

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2 Responses to Collecting: German Klöppelfrau Raucherfigurs

  1. AAGlez says:

    Really interesting.

  2. a. says:

    Hello there, I just came across your blog while researching lace and some other things. Glad to see that you also value the Erzgebirge crafts tradition.
    About the fourth Räucherfrau – the logo is actually reading FvK, and this is the workshop of Franz Karl GmbH of Venusberg. They also have a website.
    I remember you were wondering about the vanishing varnishes in one of your other posts about figurines and collectibles. You must know that wood is a living material, similar to paintings done on wooden canvas – the paint will crack over time. It’s not a sign of inferior workmanship or materials, but simply something that happens. That’s why many Erzgebirge workshops also offer repair and restauration services for rare and beloved pieces.
    Hope this helps. Greetings from Germany.

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