Gabby’s major collections involve postcards and record album covers – you have probably noticed this. He had a nice collection of postcards featuring happy chimney sweeps, mostly German. I said we didn’t need to see them. My friend asked to see them. So – here they are. You can like them or not. It just seemed like overkill to me.
Gabby sent the photos with a note urging us to read Blake’s poem about the chimney sweep.
Enough poetry. Let’s move on to the chimney sweep cards. In the 19th century, chimney sweeps often had pigs with them. It had something to do with good luck. The pigs did not help with the work. Many of the postcards celebrate these pigs:
Gabby was especially proud of this sheet of pigs for handmade cards:
In Germany, the chimney sweep is associated with new year’s, or St. Sylvester’s day. Also associated with the day – and the chimney sweep – is a red mushroom. The red fly mushroom is widely considered poisonous. It may be that this perception was the result hallucinogenic propoerties that were valued both by pre-Christian shamans and early Christian gnostics. It has further been suggested that amanita muscaria may have been referred to in ancient Indian Vedic texts as the mystic plant, Soma. Here are a couple postcards showing a chimney sweep with red mushrooms:
He sent two with both pigs and mushrooms!
And then many without pigs and without mushrooms:
The last two really knocked my socks off.
The dressed cats genre meets the chimney sweep genre – how fantastic is that?
When my friend saw that I had enjoyed these postcards, he gloated. There is no other way to put it. I had passed on the postcards, but he had insisted. He pointed to them and said: