Woodcarvings from Gröden
Gröden is famous – and had been famous long before South Tyrol has become a holiday paradise, the Saslong has become a world cup ski run and Luis Trenker has performed in mountain movies.
The success story of Gröden had begun much earlier, during the 17th century, with the art of woodcarving. At that time, Gröden was largely cut off from the outside world. Most of the valley’s inhabitants were farmers, spending wintertime with woodcarving in their warm living rooms. Woodcarving was not only a pastime, but also a precious additional income as the woodcarvings were increasingly sold.
Majorly to the churches. The talented woodcarvers in Gröden created elaborate holy figures, decorating entire altars. During Baroque period, the Grödners were creating cribs, crib figures and images of saints in series. By 1850, more than 2,000 Grödners, half of the inhabitants in the valley, worked as woodcarvers and created not only clerical woodcarvings. For instance, the famous “Grödner Gliederpuppen”, typical jointed dolls, were even exported to America.
Series production or individual manufacture?
The year 1920 was the year of the foundation of the first exhibition association. It was the basis for the production of single pieces. Today, the association’s name is UNIKA. Each member must only create single pieces. These unique specimens are the contrary of series production, which still exists today, being in high demand.
If you would like to see the ancient artworks from Gröden at first hand, you can do this at the Ladin Museum in St. Martin in Thurn or at the Museum Gröden in St. Ulrich.