The World of the Prune Men
Time-intensive and hand made work
Creating a figure is both time-intensive and difficult. It can take up to an hour to build a typical prune man or woman – in special cases even longer. Wire, which is mounted on a piece of birch wood, is used as a skeleton to give the prune man “backbone”. Dried prunes serve as arms and legs; figs make up the body. Walnuts – the smoother the better – are used for the head. Paint a face and add a pointed hat and you have the perfect prune man.
Legend of the Prune Men
It is said that prune men were invented by a Nuremberg wire drawer in the 18th century. He wanted a gift to please his children, but only had his wire and a plum tree that stood in front of his house … the clever result was a prune man. The legend tells us that his children ate the prunes, which today isn’t the case – “Not fit for consumption” signs can be found at every booth.
Instead, prune men should be a feast for the eye. They need little care: only dusting. If the body of a prune man turns grey, it’s sugar and not mold and can be removed with a little alcohol. That way, you can enjoy your prune man for years and, as the Nuremberg saying goes, “Hosd an Zwetschga im Haus, gäid dir es Geld und Gligg ned aus” … “With a prune man in your house, money and happiness stay too”.
Other reports from Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt