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Duncan Royale Black Peter


Item Sku: 12Black
During the Middle Ages, the Dutch referred to the Devil as Black Peter. Gradually, the antithesis of Christmas found his way into Christmas folklore in Holland.

A legend existed that St. Nicholas put the Devil in chains and made him his slave. Each St. Nicholas Day it was believed that the Devil himself was working under orders from Saint Nick. The good Saint would direct “Black Peter” to drop gifts and candy down the chimneys into the children’s shoes which were always there on St. Nicholas Eve. Eventually, the practice was carried over to Christmas which was actually a few weeks later. I

Gradually, the legend gave “Black Peter” a role in St. Nicholas’ decision making as to what the Dutch children should receive for Christmas. The naughty ones and the lazy ones would be spirited away during the night by Black Peter, or punished with a birch rod. St. Nicholas would always force this evil slave to reward the good children with gifts. The fate of the naughty children was often spared by St. Nicholas at the last moment in some cultures, subject to a promise to be good during the following year. Depending on which legend one followed during these times the names for Black Peter varied from Hans Trapp to Knecht Ruppert to Krampus.

Interestingly, depictions of Black Peter became an early form of political satire. St. Nick’s devilish little helper was often dressed in Spanish clothing. It is thought that Peter’s attire Was: a subtle protest against the Spanish rule of Holland during this era. Adding to this theory is the legend that the place to which Black Peter would take the errant children after their abduction was none other than Spain itself.
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$275.00 / $200.00   12''   
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