History of the Appenzell Belt

The Appenzellerland is known for its beautiful landscape and deeply rooted traditions and customs. These include alpine lifts, country communities, Talerschwingen, Silvesterchlausen or Alpstobete. Central is also a distinctive handicraft: farmer painting, dulcimer building and of course the "Sennensattlerei".

Handicrafts in old Appenzell

The saddler follows an old tradition of handcraft that still has its followers. In addition to ornamented trouser-braces, shoe buckles and caps for the Alpine dairymen he also produces handcrafted belts with nickel silver or brass fittings.

Appenzellers were considered poor and vain. “They always wanted to have what the others had. When our mercenaries saw luxurious Renaissance furniture in Italy, they tried to imitate it with their very limited resources.” This is – among other things – how Sebastian Fässler, saddler from Appenzell, explains the penchant for ornamentation in the folklore handcraft from Appenzell.

"Appenzellers always wanted what others had."

Senn - © museum appenzell
© museum appenzell

The Appenzell belt - past and present

The Appenzeller belt is a piece of old Swiss tradition. The belts were made of cowhide and handmade metal fittings showing Alpine motifs such as alpine dairymen, suns, ornaments and cows. The more ornaments there were on the belt, the richer the wearer was.

Today there are only a handful of producers left in Appenzell. Daniel Fuchs is one of the few and a third-generation saddler. Much has remained the same: The cutting of the leather, the arrangement of the elements, but the ornaments are only made by hand in individual cases. The gold and silver ornaments are pressed by machine, but always according to the respective pattern of the Sennensattler. They are thus the signature of the producer and the eye of the connoisseur recognizes a Fuchs, Dörig, Fässler or Bachmann.

Ornaments of the Appenzell belt:

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