Traditional costumes were and continue to be expressions of identity. Local dress held great symbolic importance during the era of regional fragmentation in which Germany was not yet a unified nation-state. Bavaria (and Catholic Upper Bavaria, in particular) had its own distinct regional culture. Although Bavaria was not unique in this regard—numerous regions boasted a pronounced local culture—the trappings of Bavarian culture, which included religious celebrations, festivals, and not least, folkloric Alpine-style dress, seem to occupy a larger place in today’s popular imagination. The people depicted here are from Tegernsee, a lake about 30 miles south of Munich. The lithograph dates from c. 1855, but the farmer and the girl—identified as such in the title—wear clothing that would not look too out of date in stores that sell Bavarian folk costumes today. The male farmer, casually holding a beer stein with a tin lid, wears a hat with a feather (or a tuft of chamois hair), an Alpine Janker jacket and vest, ornamented Lederhosen, knitted half-stockings, and sturdy shoes. The girl wears a blue dress with puffy sleeves, over which is layered a light pink apron and what looks to be a laced corset. She has tied a kerchief around her shoulders and carries a bag cut from the same cloth. Her hat resembles that of the farmer, although hers has a light-colored band and lacks ornamentation. The entire ensemble is a precursor to today’s Dirndl, which originated from work clothes. Pen and ink lithograph, c. 1855.

Farmer and Girl from Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria (c. 1855)

  • Eugen von Stieler


Source: bpk-Bildagentur, image numbers 00007976 & 00007977. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Kunstbibliothek, SMB / Knud Petersen