31 March 2011

"Ladies from Livonia"

Albrecht Dürer : Three Mighty Ladies from Livonia (1521)

Livonia was the area on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.  Found at Uncertain Times.  I wish I had time to look up some information about this curious fashion, but garden chores await...

p.s. - for some reason the triangular top on the lady on the far left reminds me of a flatworm...

Update:  A reader from Latvia comments that these costumes are not traditional eastern Baltic outfits, but are rather dresses of the German aristocracy of the time.


  1. Is there an element of "hear no, speak no, see no" couture at work here?

  2. For some strange reason, I'm also seeing a flatworm, though I also wanted to say flukeworm for some reason.

  3. I doubt it. I did find this about ancient Latvian dress -


    but it doesn't show anything like that above.

    This blog gets several hundred visits/month from readers in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Perhaps one of them will know.

  4. Hi, I am from Latvia (Riga) and I can hopefully explain. :D



    Livonia was inhabited by various Baltic and Finnic peoples, ruled by an upper class of Baltic Germans. Over the course of time, some nobles were polonized into the Polish-Lithuanian nobility (Szlachta) or russified into the Russian nobility (Dvoryanstvo).

    As our host Mr. Minnesotastan has found out - those indeed are not clothes worn by native Latvians/Livs/Lithuanians/Estonians. Those are dresses of German "aristocracy" - and as such they are not considered Latvian/Liv/Lithuanian/Estonian.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Sean, I deleted your comment because it doesn't add anything to TYWKIWDBI - you're just trying to use my blog to insult someone at another blog (?).

  7. Anonymous, thanks for your comment; I've added that information to the post. :.)

  8. These are incredible! When I first glanced at them, i though - hm, looks like Edward Gorey or someone like that - uch more recent. But...Durer! An old favourite. And such witty, almost cartoonish little drawings. How fun!


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