Friday, June 15, 2012

A German Bride, 500 BC

Spear Maiden German Bride, circa 500 BC
In the land between the Danube and the North Sea, the Germans, Jutes, Saxons, Franks, Goths, and other groups of people were all competing for space to live.  The Germans were a migratory people with vast herds, rapidly exhausting the land.  When they loved to a new area, it had to be conquered by the sword.  They cherished freedom and believed that a glorious death was preferable to captivity, for such a death insured a perpetual happy future life.  They also believed that all husbands and wives leading virtuous lives on earth would never part again in Valhalla.

As a result of all their migratory lifestyle, the women had great physical strength and beauty.  Their ideal of feminine virtue was the Goddess Frigga, patroness of the home and marriage.  She was supposed to be blonde and have blue eyes, the Teutonic ideal of beauty.

A bride was purchased from her father by a gift of cattle, horses, and weapons.  A man must consult his parents, her family, the tribal council and chiefs regarding the marriage. 

Maidens wore tunics of green linen embroidered with red wool, and under this a woolen tabard open at the sides.  The cape was secured on the shoulders by large gold brooches.  Long flowing hair indicates the bride was freeborn as well as a virgin.  The circlet on her head symbolizes her rank, the daughter of a chieftain.  Chains attached to the belt support the weight of the pouch, containing uncut jewels, sewing instruments, and a key.  The groom's gift to the bride was a two-handed, double-edged broadsword, shield, and spear. 

The inspiration for this doll is from a book called Foreign Brides from Antiquity, by Frank and Elizabeth Haines.  I was intrigued by the image of the German Bride, and wanted to add a doll from this period to my collection.  I commissioned Maya, of Maya's Muse, to make this for me, using a Mackie face Barbie doll with flat feet.  Making this doll was a long process and a story in itself, but as you can see, she did an incredible job.  Although I took my own photos, I decided to use the ones by Maya, since they look so artistic.  I highly recommend checking out Maya's site at for more of her beautiful doll creations.  She is an artist in every sense of the word.


  1. Wonderful Damarys!! Tanto la historia que cuentas como la muñeca, se nota que te apasiona la historia del traje. ¿Sabes que los vikingos también llegaron hasta Barcelona? Se establecieron aquí durante algún tiempo por eso también tenemos gente rubia y de ojos azules :-)

  2. Querida Nuria,
    Pues mira...yo no sabia que los vikingos habian llegado a que cruzaron el Atlantico hasta llegar a Norteamerica, eso si se sabe. Siempre se aprende algo nuevo! Me alegro que el narrativo acerca de las costumbres matrimoniales entre las tribus alemanas te haya gustado tanto.