Why the “Langberg finds” are not knickers

Well, because they are not female, but male underwear. There seem to be alot of misconceptions about these intriguing underpants discovered in Lengberg castle as wall stuffing, and often they are wrongly attributed to sexy lady lingerie. But (un)fortunately, they are not…

This fascinating world of male tangas have already been explored by other bloggers here and here, and I just wanna share with you some extra examples of these fancy underpants that I have found in the wondrous world of early modern art.

I especially like a very exhibitionistic selfportrait by everyones favourite Albrecht Dürer. But apparently this revealing tanga-portrait isn’t the naughtiest selfportrait Mr Dürer offers us… there is one even more daring out there, made 1509, here! (Viewer discretion advised)

Anyhow – back to Dürer’s selfportrait of him in his underwear. Dürer was actually sick when he made this – he sent this drawing to his physician, in which he educationally points out where his pain is situated:

“Do wo der gelb fleck is und mit dem finger drawff dewt do is mir we” (Translation: There where the yellow spot is and the finger points, there it hurts me)


Self Portrait, by Albrecht Dürer (1521)

What sickness Dürer actually had contracted, is unfortunately a mystery.

More undies and holy blue for the private relics

Not only seems this type of underpants be a little extra popular among saints, as my following depictions indicate. Also, surprisingly, the preferred color seems be blue:


The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence (1465)


St. Sebastian by master E.S (ca. 1500)


Kettenhemdmartyrium des Hl. Georg (1465)


Bellifortis martial tract of Konrad Kyeser (1414-15)

"Study of the good thief", by Albrecht Dürer, 1503

“Study of the good thief”, by Albrecht Dürer 1503

"The evil thief", by Albrecht Dürer, 1505

“The evil thief”, by Albrecht Dürer, 1505

"The good thief", by Albrecht Dürer, 1505

“The good thief”, by Albrecht Dürer, 1505


De heilige Sebastiaan, Lucas van Leyden, 1508 – 1512


Hans Baldung, Detail of The Crucifixion of Christ (1512)


Jason and Medea, from “History of Troy” by Guido da Columna. (Early 1400s)

Brosamer, Hans - 1540

A couple, by Hans Brosamer (1540)

Bathers from Das Ständebuch (The Book of Trades), 1568

Bathers from “Das Ständebuch” (The book of trades) 1568

Suggested further reading, for the naughty curious:

→ http://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear1.html

→ http://fashionarchaeology.com/tag/master-of-the-acts-of-mercy/

7 thoughts on “Why the “Langberg finds” are not knickers

  1. Pingback: The naughty nun – a raunchy woodcut from 1555 | The Vulgar Crowd

  2. Pingback: 16th century filth: Bathing hats and scented soaps | The Vulgar Crowd

  3. Pingback: Medieval Men’s Underwear – Postej & Stews

  4. Note all St. Sebastian depictions are hands of 5 digits and 6 toed feet. Any comments? Further, as a textile student, the undergarments of saints are extremely illogical to me, as the bible’s description of God’s design , construction, and fabrics don’t seem to correlate with these images. I don’t challenge history or cultures, just noting a nuance.


    • Hello & thanks for your comment!

      I looked at the depictions of St Sebastian and on the picture by master E.S i do see the six toes. Very curious indeed! If this has a meaning or is just a sloppy mistake by the painter I cant say… I dont seem to get 6 toes on the other one though.
      On the underpants VS bible it is most common during the period that biblical characters are depicted in garments of the time and not clothing worn during biblical times. This we see in most art history. Therefor the saints are dressed in underpants used during the time it was painted.

      All my best!


  5. Pingback: The naughty nun – a raunchy engraving from 1555 « Historical Tours Ireland

  6. Pingback: Kampen Om Underbyxorna – Som När Det Begav Sig

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