Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads


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Inscribed in 2020 (15.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Matěj Kubík, 2016

Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads refers to handmade Christmas tree decorations that are produced by blowing a heated glass tube inserted in a brass mould shaped into a string of beads called klaustschata and silvered, coloured and hand decorated. The string of beads is then cut into shorter or individual beads, which are threaded onto wires, thus forming ornaments of many forms. Considered as a key cultural element of the Giant and Jizera Mountain regions in North Bohemia, where blown glass beads have been produced since the late eighteenth century, the traditional craft is specialized and technically demanding. The element has been passed down through families for generations. Small production workshops were also bearers of the element, but only one survived the era when the socialist economy was undergoing transformation. The Kulhavý family workshop managed to rescue the knowledge and continues to work with domestic bead makers to safeguard the tradition. Cultural educational institutions, particularly museums, also help transmit the associated knowledge by organizing workshops. The creation of Christmas ornaments such as these appear in folk tales about Krakonoš, the legendary ruler of the mountains.