How many of you are aware of antique German Dresden ornaments? I wasn't until three years ago when I joined The Golden Glow of Christmas Past, an organization of antique Christmas collectors.
At first, I didn't see their allure but as I learned more about them and saw additional examples, I fell and I fell hard!
Made for a very short period of about 30 years from 1890-1920, these intricate works of art are actually pressed cardboard and can be composed of upwards of 20 individual components. Thin cardboard, either natural of gilded, is pressed under intense pressure using metal molds that leave amazing details. The example of the horse shown is what is referred to as a 3-dimensional example. Dresden's come in flat, one-sided versions, 2 sided examples and, the most sought after, 3-dimensional examples.
Expensive even when new, they were created not only for Christmas ornaments but as party poppers and party favors. The horse head is a candy container and has a green silk bag with drawstring tucked into his neck. A very lucky recipient would have received a small token of affection or a chocolate sweet surprise inside.
Dresdens are available in an almost limitless array of subject matter. Animals, people, household objects, transportation and celestial beings are just a few of the categories available. Scarce even with the dawn of the internet, Dresdens are cherished by collectors for their unmatched quality and delicacy. It is amazing to think that something made of cardboard could survive over a century intact!
Be wary when searching the market for Dresdens as their are numerous reproductions being offered as antique. Also, you will find Russian Dresden ornaments as well as German. You can tell the difference in the detail and finish. Russian Dresdens are most often 2-dimensional. Still charming, Russian Dresdens command a significantly lower price than do German Dresdens.
Whether just to admire or begin a collection, Dresdens are truly works of art and well worth getting to know. Not only is it an art but a lost one at that. I will show more examples as time goes by!