I recently stumbled upon some amazing images depicting costumes from the Schembart Carnival or Nuremberg Shrovetide Carnival (German: Schembartlauf).

“Schembart” means “maskbeard” in German, and men dressed up for this event in costumes with bearded masks made of carved wood. This carnival was popular in Nuremberg, Germany during the 15th century, but ended in 1539, possibly due to offending town politicians by poking fun at them, as this was part of the nature of the festival.

Information about the Schembart Carnival can be found in around 80 Schembartbooks (Schembartbuch, “maskbeardbooks”). Most of these “maskbeardbooks” were written between the 16th-19th centuries and contain illustrations of the costumes worn, and sometimes chronological lists of events and names of participants. Here are images from several such books.

One full book can be found here (German, 17th century): http://dibiki.ub.uni-kiel.de/viewer/thumbs/PPN504316125/1/

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