Dresden Ornaments

- Lucky Pigs (“Glücksschweine”)

It may seem surprising at first glance, but it was not until the end of the 19th century that the four-leaf clover came into fashion as a symbol of good luck. Soon you could buy ever new variations of the most diverse objects decorated with the lucky clover in jewellery, gallantry, or paper shops.[i] The postcard industry also took up the theme.

It was not surprising that producers of Dresden ornaments also began to market the symbol. For New Year's Eve, for example, you could buy a Dresden ornament pig with a four-leaf clover in its snout as a small gift for your guests or as a table decoration. Presumably, however, the producer did not only trust the supposed luck of the shamrock. The pig was also available with a horseshoe around its neck or with small yellow bags on its back. Either way, they were all symbols of good luck.

The Dresden factory owner Carl Wenzel made an extra Cotillon “lucky pig” tour out of the symbols of luck for dance events.[ii] During the tour, Dresden cardboard pigs decorated with four leaf clovers, horseshoes, lucky stars and other symbols of luck were handed out to the dancing couples attached to pink (for women) and blue (for men) ribbons.

[i] Kneschke, M.: Lichtschirm in Kleeblattform, in: Die praktische Hausfrau. Illustriertes Wochenblatt zur Förderung des häuslichen Wohlstandes und des Familienglückes, 2. Jg. (1900/01), No. 70, p. 261.

[ii] Carl Wenzel: Illustriertes Preisbuch über Cotillon-, Carneval- u. Illuminations-Artikel etc., Ausgabe 1906/7, Tour 701, p. 49.