German prosecutors have launched an investigation into whether a garden gnome with its right arm raised in a Nazi salute at a Nuremberg art gallery is against the law. "The investigation is ongoing and people are being interviewed," Wolfgang Traeg, a spokesman for the city's public prosecutors office, told AFP. "It is also a question of art a bit... and a garden gnome," Traeg said. "It will also depend on what the artist and the owners of the gallery have to say for themselves about the whole thing." German-born Ottmar Hoerl said he was surprised his gnome had caused such controversy. "I was a bit surprised that this gnome has produced a reaction like this. Until now everyone has understood it." Hoerl told AFP, calling his artwork "an image of the German master race." "I view [this investigation] with a certain irony," he continued. He told the news agency that he had been making gnomes for the past nine years, and put them on display for the first time in Belgium in 2008 in an exhibition called "Dance With The Devil."