General description: Man and woman wearing the traditional costume worn by the Groß-Gerau (Hessen, Germany) traditional costume society.
Dimensions Man: 8 x 3.5 x 3 cm; Woman: 8.5 x 4.5 x 3 cm
Date when acquired 21st August, 2016
Original Date 1994
Source Flea market in Zeigenhain, Schwalmstadt in Hesse. The dolls appear to have been worn as brooches for the Hessentag (Hessian Day) 1994. The Hessian Day is an annual event organized by the German state of Hesse (started in 1961), comprising both fair and festival which connects Hessian culture, tradition and modern lifestyle. Usually many traditional costume societies are represented there.
Plastic dolls with movable eyes, legs and arms. The woman has straight dark brown hair. The man’s reddish brown hair is painted on. Both have a loop of material with “Hessentag 1994 Groß Gerau” printed on it attached to the back of their necks and a small safety pin so that the doll can be worn as a brooch.
She is wearing a simplified version of the Lauterbach hat (Radhaube), apron and shawl: all are made of plain cotton material (hat & apron in white; shawl in light grey). A band of gold and green braid is sewn around the front of the hat and a narrow black braid in an upside-down U at the back.
Her skirt is of a red velvety material and her bodice is of the same material but in green. Just above the hem of the skirt is a black silky braid. A sequin is on the bodice on the right and a spot of glue is on the left indicating a second sequin, which is now missing. Under her bodice is a white short-sleeved blouse. The apron is long and tied at the back. Her white stockings are painted on, as are her black half shoes.
He is wearing red velvet knee trousers, a yellow velvet high-necked (normally red in colour) waistcoat and a three-quarter-length bottle green velvet coat. The high white collar of his shirt can be seen around his neck. He has sequins acting as buttons on his waistcoat (two) and coat (originally three but one is missing). Unfortunately, his coat seems to have some glue residues stuck to right sleeve and back. On his head is the traditional hat with a green velvet crown with a fur band around it. His long white socks and black low shoes are painted on.
The Lauterbach costume was developed ca. 1800 to 1820 and was worn by the more wealthy farmers, the so-called Ackerbürger (arable farmer citizens).
The most characteristic part of the women’s costume is their hat, the Radhaube, with its sun-ray pleating. The basis of the costume is a knee-length linen shirt, over which, they have a pleated petticoat with a white bodice. On top of this is a pleated skirt made of heavy material. The colour of which depends on the age of the woman, with older women wearing darker colours. To protect the skirt, a white or natural coloured apron is worn that is richly decorated with embroidery. Normally they also wear a black velvet bodice, which is embroidered with small roses. Around their shoulders they wear a shawl made of fine woollen muslin, which has fringes on all four sides. The scarf is usually printed with a rose pattern and held in place by a brooch. In winter or bad weather, the women wear a tailored material jacket with a divided peplum. Self-knitted stockings are worn with embroidered garters (made of embroidery canvas). The main motives are roses and the Tree of Life. Usually the embroiderer puts her initials on the garters.
The ladies normally wear low black buckled shoes.
The men traditionally wear a flat-crowned hat with a band of either otter or beaver fur around it.
A white tailored linen shirt is worn with a black necktie. Over this is a high-necked red waistcoat. The blue woollen trousers are held up with braces made of embroidered tapestry canvas. The motives are like those used for the women’s clothing: roses and the Tree of Life. The initials of the wearer are sewn at the beginning of the braces and the year of when they joined the society for traditional costumes at the end. The jacket is usually of the same material as the trousers and is richly decorated with silver buttons. The back of the jacket has two slits. Knitted natural coloured socks and black buckled shoes are worn to complete the outfit.
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