The various forms of animal-hunting, considered particularly cruel by today’s standards, were not only an integral part of court festivities; they also played a role in municipal Shrovetide customs.

Animal-hunting at Dresden’s Altmarkt

Daniel Bretschneider (?): Animal-hunting at Dresden’s Altmarkt.
Paper, illustrations: Brush in gouache. – 1609.
Shelf mark: Mscr.Dresd.R.31

© SLUB / Deutsche Fotothek

The eight pages of this manuscript show the baiting of bears, foxes, deer, wild boars, wolves and other animals on Shrove Tuesday of 1609 at Dresden’s Altmarkt, seen from the southern side. The baiting site is demarcated by Seegasse and Webergasse on the left, Scheffelgasse on the right, and the northern end of the market, with barriers serving as stands. The spectator areas in the city’s town hall, visible on the right, provided the best view, and were thus reserved for dignitaries.