Alternative Name(s): Soldier Doll, Nutcracker, Nutcracker Toy

Wooden nutcracker toy from the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) area of Germany. Used by children as toys as well as to crack nuts, mainly during Winter. The poor wood-carvers in the past usually gave their colourfully-painted nutcrackers the grim look of typical representatives of hated authority, e.g. kings, soldiers, policemen.

This nutcracker represents a soldier, complete with rifle and binoculars. Wood carving began in the Erzgebirge (Saxony) region late in the 18th C after the decline of mining. Toys produced in this region were distinguished from those produced around Nuremberg (the centre of handcarved wooden toys from the 15th C) by their simple forms.

Part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). Donated by the Embassy of the German Democratic Republic, 1990. The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria.

Physical Description

Traditional wooden soldier figure, complete with detachable wooden rifle and binoculars. Figure has a painted green hat with felt brim, green jacket with brown belt and yellow buttons, dark green trousers and brown boots, and stands on a grey-painted wooden stand. The figure has black fur hair and beard, and a painted moustache. Binoculars are made from wood, painted black, and attached to a thin strip of black plastic. The rifle is natural wood with a black-painted barrel, and attached to a thin strip of light brown plastic. The movable handle is at the back of the figure. The figure is in its original box, with illustrations of different figures available as nutcrackers. Acknowledgement: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria.

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