«Rockenbrief», Gift from Johan Barandun to Anna Hänni of Versam

Feldis, 1829

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, «Rockenbriefe» [«distaff letters»] decorated the bundles of hemp or flax fibres to be spun on a distaff. The ribbons were used to wrap it around the spinning material. Oftentimes calligraphically gifted scribes were hired to produce such decorated paper strips as love tokens.

This «Rockenbrief», drawn and coloured with ink, was a gift from Johan Barandun to the «virgin Anna Hänni» of Versam. A frame made up of plant and rhombus elements surrounds the sheet. The visual elements used are vase and heart sprouts with stylized roses, tulips and wine grapes.