Gnomes are often associated with the earth, living in underground dwellings. They are related to many other similar figures of folklore, including the dwarves of Germanic tradition, the brownies of Scotland, and the Scandinavian nisse.
Gnomes were first mentioned in the 16th century, describes as “earth elementals”, or spirits of the earth. In later lore, they are often used as a sort of foil for the fairy. While the fairy is ethereal, light, and spritely, the gnome is stocky, grounded, and less conventionally beautiful.
Garden gnomes are popular statues that are often used as lawn ornaments. These figures date back to the 1800s in Germany.