As every art with which mankind is concerned must have an ordered rule according to which the students of this art must exercise themselves so that they can from day to day, and the longer the more effectively, grasp the correct foundation and understanding of their chosen art, so shall and must even the most praiseworthy supportive and gracious art of German tailoring, which was evolved by the most clever and creative women, such as pattern makers, weavers, spinners, sprangers, needleworkers, and others of wisdom both rich and poor, possess a fundamental code to which noblewomen and seamstresses can refer and learn what the ordering of the right and true art may be.
And as there also exist many and various sewers and scholars who perhaps regard wise words and views with disfavor, it has been thought necessary to set forth the correct articles and tablatures as they have been communicated to use by their ancient inventors so that one may judge, understand, and comprehend with or without fault, and what earns praise or blame. **
Therefore, as does the Meistersanger reproduce in song and verse, does Agatha Wanderer show what can be reproduced in cloth and thread, that it be recorded in the tablature, and that she may wear the wreath of laurel leaves as dictated by Our tradition.
As such, she is granted letters patent and will bear these arms, Or, a schnecke issuant from sinister chief purpure.
After the time of recommendation was completed by the Order, and with the full and strong agreement of Us, König und Königin, for the ninth of July in the fifty-first year of the Society was this schulzettel posted that all might see Meisterin Agatha be joined to the Order of the Laurel.
Semper ubi, sub ubi.
** here includes marginalia saying, “Because we are German, there must be rules.”
Inspired by a translation of the Wasengeil’s Tabulatur, the codified rules of the Meistersanger of Neurenburg, Germany. Johann Christoph Wagenseil (1633 – 1705) the first researcher of the rules of the German Meistersanger tradition which flourished from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Wagenseil based his Tabulatur on the documents from several cities who had formal contest-performances of this art in the Middle High German period. Late 15th century Nuremberg, Agatha’s home, was also home to one of these traditional song-schools.
Meistersangers were known for their reproduction of strict traditional forms, any deviation from which was noted as an error. Additionally, these artists eschewed printed books and lasting written forms, so modernly the overwhelming majority of their works are unknown, save for a few author-composers. Poetry was viewed as a mechanical art, one learned through diligent study, wholly independent of divine inspiration. More technical than inspirational or emotional, these works were carefully crafted and those who crafted perfectly were well-regarded.
This is much like the work Agatha Wanderer performs with the reproduction of the Lengenberg Bra. Despite that there were likely very many of these garments, the existing ones are few. She is tasked with reproducing this item, without deviation from the prior form. She must follow strict rules in terms of style and material. She may not deviate from them for her art. At the same time, she must also face many judges who have differing opinions on the style of the item and how it was crafted, not unlike the Meistersangers who were formally and informally judged themselves.
Much of her art of the reproduction of much German clothing is like this, and while she is, at heart, a creative artist, in this area she has taken her creativity in a narrow, technical direction to excel at this task.
As a final note, the winning Meistersanger of the contest was crowned with a wreath of leaves, which was hung at the start of the challenge and given to the winner at its close, in addition to being considered a little more immortal than his fellows. It is fitting that Agatha is so crowned and thus added to the rolls of immortality in the Society.