Station: [331] Fourth Book and the Art of Mining

Expensive mining led to immense profits and with these to a completely new economic culture in 16th-century mining towns. Financially-strong businessmen, aristocrats, town councillors, town members and master craftsmen all invested in mining and founded collectives in order to minimize the financial risk involved. Mine Share Certificates regulated the amount invested and became popular items of speculation during the 15th century.  

For electoral princes, mining profits were of extremely high significance, so it will come of no surprise to you to know that the first miner in the land was an electoral prince.  

John George II wore the elaborate miner’s uniform in the picture you see here to a celebration in honour of mining. As supreme mine owner in the state, the electoral prince demonstrated Saxony’s wealth in silver and precious stones by wearing this showpiece. And miners also had parade outfits during the 18th century, which included a pit smock, pit leather, white trousers, shaft hat, knee straps, pit light and a specially-shaped axe. 

Mining became such an integral part of everyday life in the Erzgebirge area that it became impossible to imagine life without it. Many everyday objects such as tankards and glass beakers had mining motifs on them.

Whether in the form of carving, painting, or sculpture, legend or song, mining became a form of folk art that accompanied peoples’ lives in a variety of ways and still does today.