„Come to the crib!“
The life-size pine crib was inaugurated in Annaberg
As soon as we walk up to the churchhill, we spot the roof of the hut. This shelter for the Holy Family was built from old boards by great helpers from the tourist board and the community. Many locals and visitors are walking up here at the moment. Everyone wants to take a closer look at the fragrant figures carved from pine wood, which have found a worthy place next to the parish church.
Carved from the same cloth
Extreme carver Ernst Adelsberger cut out Joseph, Maria and the baby Jesus from a single tree. „Swiss stone pine is something very special,“ he explains enthusiastically. „Swiss stone pine is almost indestructible and they are really rustic trees, from which you can carve wonderful figures. They only grow at an altitude of around 1,700 meters, not easy to find – you have to follow them.“ Tree-owner Walter Dullnig and the carver did that well. The carver was out and about with the forest owner for hours – then the right Swiss stone pine suddenly appeared. Ernst Adelsberger estimates that she is already a good 200 years old: „The kneeling Maria emerged from the trunk,“ explains the artist, who knows how to use his chainsaw with incredible precision, even when it comes to the correct folds of the dress or the sheep’s fur. Only the faces and hands are reworked with finer tools. „When I see the wood, I already have a precise idea of the figure that is waiting for me inside,“ Adelsberger passionately tells. „I can’t help but start the chainsaw and start carving. In this phase I don’t feel the heavy machine at all, I let my intuition run free. Joseph had already taken shape down in the valley when we fetched the tree from the alpine pasture. I was able to carve out the little Jesus child from Maria’s back. So she didn’t have it in her stomach this time, she carried it piggyback.“
A Christmas visitor
This is how the artist works his way through the fragrant wood. Sometimes he just has to carve it, then he walks past the figure for days without continuing: „I have to feel it, if it comes over me, I keep working.“ Adelsberger never has a precise, recorded plan, but deep down he does have already the exact idea: “Sometimes I have to improvise. Lightning struck the tribe from which Maria arose long ago. But you can only see that on the inside, because the wood has grown around it. So I had to put my hand on the body differently. But it turned out well.” While he was still making the first cuts on Maria on the Alm, the artist received a special visit. A donkey showed no shyness from the noisy machine and watched him at his work, yes, he could hardly be taken away, he was so interested in what the artist was doing. Was it the Blessed Mother, to whom donkeys are known to have a very special connection? You don’t know if a bit of Christmas has already played its part here…
Many helping hands
On the first Saturday in Advent the time had come, the crib was set up and inaugurated with dignity by Pastor P. Virgil. The tourism association and municipality in Annaberg made the life-size crib possible, and many volunteers helped to create a hostel for the figures. They were warmly thanked at the celebration, which was attended by many visitors despite the rain. The Annaberg male choir and musicians from the Annaberg traditional costume band provided the musical framework for the celebration. After the inauguration, the visitors came to the small, very fine Advent market in the Postgarage in the town center. Every Friday afternoon, high-quality, regional products by local artists can be admired and purchased there. This time biscuits and mulled wine could also be enjoyed there.
Waiting for the Christ Child
Would you also like to pay a visit to the stone pine crib? To visit the nativity scene, we recommend a leisurely tour from the village right next to the Martini Sportswear Shop up to the nativity scene, from there back down to the center to the Postgarage with local products (always open on Friday afternoons) and on to the owl fountain, which the internationally renowned artist created Prof. Gottfried Kumpf gave to his place of birth. Free parking is available directly at the Kopfbergbahn. Let the pre-Christmas hike put you in a good mood and enjoy your own personal break from everyday life and the hectic pace. By the way: The baby Jesus was allowed to „rehearse“ at the celebration, but it will not be seen in the manger again until December 24th.