Sorbian Culture

Numerous pictorial testimonies of Sorbian culture have been handed down in the Deutsche Fotothek's collection, including in the bequests of Paul. W. John, Richard Peter jun., Roger Rössing and Erich Höhne.

The photographs presented here come mainly from the collections of the Sorbisches Institut in Bautzen. The exhibition features Carte-de-Visite from the Johann Meschgang Collection as well as the two photo collections Lausitzer Volks- und Landeskunde by Ernst Tschernik and the picture collection of the former Institut für sorbische Volksforschung.

In 2016 the estates of the worker photographer Erich Rinka (1902-1983) and the photographs from the extensive estate of the photographer Kurt Heine (1906-1986), whose archives are located in the Sorbian Institute and in the German Photographic Library, will also be digitized with funds from the Landesdigitalisierungsprogramms Sachsen In addition, there is the approximately 4,000 photographs in the photographic archive of the Fotoarchiv des Sorbischen Kultur- und Volksbildungsamtes Bautzen in Bautzen, which documents Sorbian contemporary cultural life in the 1950s and 1960s (customs, theatre, political events, schools), as well as the regional and folklore of Sorbian Lusatia (churches, castle walls, monuments, architecture, landscape, traditional costumes).

Johann Meschgang (Jan Meškank) Collection

The Carte-de-Visite collection with portraits of persons, families and groups from the Sorbian Catholic region in Upper Lusatia comes from the estate of Jan Meškank (John Meschgang). In the collection, the dominance of female portraits is noticeable, which was probably also due to Meškank's interest in folkloristic costumes. In 1957, he published his findings under the title "Die Tracht der katholischen Sorben = Drasta katolskich Serbow". The photos included in the collection were taken for private use only. In the early days Sorbian carte-de-visite were not representations of traditional costumes or demonstrations of the national par excellence, but visual means of bourgeois self-representation and emancipation. The costume here was not a costume for the special occasion, but everyday clothes.

[ Further information - in german | Show all images of the Collection Johann Meschgang ]

Collection of photos "Lusatian folklore and regional studies" by Ernst Tschernik (Arnošt Cernik)

In the years 1954-58 Dr. Ernst Tschernik compiled a "Population statistics of the Sorbian Lusatia", the results of which could not be published until 1995. In this context, a photographic documentation of approximately 1500 photographs was created showing architecture, especially in rural areas and folkloristic aspects, as well as street scenes, everyday scenes and the working world in Upper, Middle and Lower Lusatia from the years 1954 to 1956, which are positive prints glued on the inside of fold-out index cards with the most important data contents on the front.

[ Further information - in german | Show all images of the collection "Lausitzer Volks- und Landeskunde" ]

Image collection of the former "Institut für sorbische Volksforschung"

Village views, half-timbered houses, planked barns, transport baskets for geese, women at the spinning wheel, wedding in the Spreewald, baptism in the church of Schleife, Corpus Christi in Crostwitz, Easter egg painters, Johannisreiter and Christkind, bagpipers and haymaking - the spectrum of motifs in the folkloristic picture collection of the former Institut für sorbische Volksforschung corresponds to the classical canon of folklore: Folk architecture, traditional handicrafts and working methods, costumes, customs. Geographically it is defined by the region of Lusatia or Sorbian settlement area: especially the Spreewald, the former estate of Hoyerswerda, the parish of Schleife and the Catholic Upper Lusatia.

[ Further information - in german | Show all images ]

[ Show all images from the collection "Sorbian Culture" ]