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Large Antique Black Forest Diorama - Lonely German Elf in Workshop

This wonderful object literally stopped me in my tracks! It is a fascinating three dimensional work of art!! After doing some research, I've learned that dioramas such as these were created during the early part of the 1900's, sometime before the second world war in Germany's Black Forest region, an area famous for their wood carvings.

Many of these wooden boxes are much smaller but this is one of the larger ones. It's a full foot square and the detailed carving is amazing! I've seen prices as high as $600+ for some of these larger shadow boxes. Whether you are a collector or not, this item is fun if you like unusual items!

When I first spotted it, I thought the diorama was of a guy in his workshop. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this strange dirty, balding little fellow has on elf clothing. Also, as I was reviewing the photos while taking them, I was shocked to see Santa’s face very plainly at the window. It was there in every photo I took. I finally gave up trying to get a photo of the scene that I saw with the naked eye. The strangest thing is that in the actual photos, I don’t see Santa at all. The photos show the scene that I see--trees and a few buildings.

Note the dog lying by the fireplace. Looks like one of the logs fell off (deliberately done by the maker). Above the fireplace is a working rack for drying clothing over the fire--the crank actually turns. If you look in the left corner, you’ll see a really strange little monkey that is chained there (he needs to be reglued to look a little better). Very weird and wonderful! And the more you look, the more you see.

I did a so-so job of cleaning the dust away. Right now it looks like it is in good shape but it probably could use a little more cleaning. If the old, worn look of the piece doesn’t appeal to you, you could easily use something like Old English Furniture Polish to make the wood look a little better.

There is a hanger on the back.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Front - 12” x 12”
Back - 8-½” x 8-½”
Sides - 3-½”
2-½” - Deep

Large Antique Black Forest Diorama - Lonely German Elf in Workshop


  • Vintage item
  • Materials: wood, cloth, clay
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 733 reviews
  • Favorited by: 54 people