Here is a selection of 50 pages from Hans Weigel’s Trachtenbuch (Costume Book), which was published in Nuremberg in 1577. The original is owned by Trinity College, Cambridge (ref: L.11.33).
The second half of the sixteenth century witnessed the emergence of a new genre: the printed costume book. Weigel’s Trachtenbuch was one of the first and most lavishly printed of these, comprising 219 single-page woodcuts in a generous format, which illuminators could colour. Costume books were looked at and read by men and women. They disseminated knowledge of different customs across the globe, offered regional and national guides to style, and propagated a strong moral code for self-comportment.