«Sennensattlerei» (Alpine saddlery)

Sennensattlerei (Alpine saddlery) is the term used for the work of the artisans who decorate leather products for farmers, dairymen and their livestock with brass fittings and coloured embroidery. Artisans painstakingly craft straps with bells for bulls, cows and goats, and elements for the traditional costume of dairymen and women, drawing on traditional motifs, figures and ornaments that are characteristic of Alpine farm life. Each Alpine saddler has his or her own ‘handwriting’ which is expressed in his or her way of drawing and engraving. This craft has been practised in Appenzell and in Toggenburg for generations. In the 18th century, it developed into a trade. From the middle of the 20th century onwards, with the rise of tourism, artisans started to produce souvenirs and fashion accessories in addition to traditional Alpine saddlery products. These more recent products are inspired by the saddlery items, but have new uses. For example the Alpine or Appenzell belt (‘Chüeligurt’ - decorated with small metal cows), which is decorated with ornaments and figures similar to those on the braces worn in the traditional Alpine dairyman costume, has become iconic. The diverse artisanal skills involved in the trade are strongly linked to other traditions of the region; however, their preservation hinges on a steady flow of innovation and further development.

Detailed description

Sennensattlerei (PDF, 313 kB, 29.05.2018)Ausführliche Beschreibung




Bruno Bischofberger: Die Sennensattlerei. In: Volkskunst aus Appenzell und dem Toggenburg: Sammlung Bruno Bischofberger. Zürich, 1973, p. 200-288

Appenzeller Volkskunst, Sammlung Bruno Bischofberger. Zürich, 1977, p. 71-82, 110

Johann Gottfried Ebel: Schilderung des Gebirgsvolkes vom Kanton Appenzell, erster Teil der Schilderung der Gebirgsvölker der Schweiz, Leipzig, 1789. In: Carl Rusch: Der appenzell-innerrhodische Trachtenschmuck. Appenzell, 1974

Franziska Schürch: Landschaft, Senn und Kuh. Die Entdeckung der Appenzeller Volkskunst. Basel, 2008

Carl Rusch: Der appenzell-innerrhodische Trachtenschmuck. Appenzell, 1974



Appenzeller Brauchtumsmuseum Urnäsch

Museum Appenzell

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