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- Date of production 1701
- Place of creation Saxony
- Dimensions height: 87 cm, width: 22.5 cm
- Author's designation on the foot the mining emblem engraved (crossed hammers) and the inscription 17 DS 01; on the other side – the coat of arms of the Elector of Saxony
- ID no. MŻKW IV/ 358
- Object copyright Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska’s Virtual Museums project
The parade miner’s axe inlaid with a bone base. The shaft ornamented with inlay in the form of plates with plant and geometrical motifs. The miner’s emblem (crossed hammers) and the inscription “17 DS 01” engraved on the base, on the other side there is the coat of arms of the Elector of Saxony.more
The parade miner’s axe inlaid with a bone base. The shaft ornamented with inlay in the form of plates with plant and geometrical motifs. The miner’s emblem (crossed hammers) and the inscription “17 DS 01” engraved on the base, on the other side there is the coat of arms of the Elector of Saxony.
The metal parts are rectangular, made of iron, slanted in the lower section and elongated in the upper section in the shape of a long spike with visible traces of fixing of a brass or a bone ball (not preserved). In the middle there is a hole in the shape of a shamrock. In the corners of the metal parts are two groups of small holes (five in the upper part, three in the lower part of the axe). Its frame is unsymmetrical and metal parts have a clearly distinguished hammer (head butt).
The shaft is decorated with inlay in the shape of bone plates with plant and geometrical motifs. The shaft’s lower part ends with a characteristic bone base under which there is an additional bone plate and a ball. Crossed hammers and the inscription “17 DS. 01” (on the rim) engraved on one side of the base, on the other one — the coat of arms of the Elector of Saxony (in a garland).
The mining axes (Bergbarten) come from Saxony and are related to the excavation of silver ore, copper and lead. Initially, in the 17th century, axes were carried as tools and the symbol of miners’ status; they had the privilege of carrying a weapon. Then they rapidly started to be carried by princes and high officials of various mines. In the early 18th century they became restricted only to diggers (who owned shafts) and the highest officials. Miner’s axes, just like little hacks, were like honorary badges carried during ceremonies as a decoration and an element of miner clothes. They were used, e.g., during parades at the Freiberg Mining Academy in the 18th century.
Motifs carved on the shaft of an axe were very often repeated. On the upper parts there was usually a cross adored by miners. On the lower parts — on the base — there was the coat of arms of the Wettins (electors of Saxony), while on the other side there were crossed hammers, the miners’ emblem. Sometimes the base showed when the axes were manufactured (in this case “1701”) and the initials of its owner (“DS”). Many axes bore religious motifs (resurrected Jesus, saints), portraits of Saxon electors. What is interesting are the representations of various ranks of miners, often shown during work, representing their clothes, tools (hammer, pickaxe, wedge, ladder, oil lamp, rod, axe, cane), machines (clock reel, pump), musical instruments and personal items (pipe). Spaces between individual images are filled with plant and geometrical motifs. On some axes there are also interesting inscriptions related to the mining industry or to praying. Drawings on bones (or horn) are generally carved awkwardly and conventionally, yet there are exceptions sometimes.
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