Amish

Like other minority communities in Europe, the Amish have found in the United States a place to live their faith freely: they have preserved ancient ways of life symbolized here through various objects and garments: two dolls, an iron, a children’s book, a young girl’s apron and an headdress for men.

Faceless dolls (1)

These faceless dolls are made in the Amish communities of Pennsylvania. Originally from Switzerland, the Amish are Anabaptists practicing the rite of adult baptism. Persecuted in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe, they emigrated in 1737 to the United States and today form a community of 330’000 people in 34 states of the USA and Ontario. The absence of faces on the dolls is explained by the biblical prohibition: “Thou shalt not make thyself a carved image…”. ( Exodus 20, 4 ) 


Loan: Jacques Légeret, Paudex,
author of L’énigme amish, Labor et Fides, 2017.

Propane iron (2)

This iron runs on propane, but beware of a flashback of about 50 cm! Contrary to the prejudices towards them, the Amish do not refuse any technology, they make a selective choice. Refusal of public electricity but electric milking of the cows thanks to the diesel engine. The telephone is in a shed at the bottom of the garden but the car is forbidden because it is contrary to “living together”. TV and radio, forbidden, could convey dangerous ideas for the survival of the Amish.
Loan: Jacques Légeret, Paudex, author of L’énigme amish, Labor et Fides, 2017.

Amish pedagogy (3)

The art of quilting – used in Amish quilts – is used to make fabric books for young people who learn calculation, shapes, colors, assemblages etc. Like Little House on the Prairie, the Amish school has only eight primary grades, all in the same room, making it easy for students to help each other! The Latin and Gothic alphabets (for reading the Bible and the Ausbund, a book of religious songs from the 16th and 17th centuries) are used daily.
Loan: Jacques Légeret, Paudex, author of L’énigme amish, Labor et Fides, 2017.

Organza apron (4)

This St. Gallen organza apron is only worn on Sundays by girls who have not yet been baptized. It is an obvious symbol of purity, but it also corresponds to the biblical injunction explaining the clothing of all Amish: “Have not that outer adornment which consists of braided hair, golden ornaments, or the garments one puts on, but the inner adornment hidden in the heart, the incorruptible purity of a gentle and peaceful spirit…”. (I Peter 3:3,5)


Loan: Jacques Légeret, Paudex,
author of L’énigme amish, Labor et Fides, 2017.

Men’s and women’s headdresses (5)

Among the Amish, young girls wear a blue or green hat when they go out. As an adult, it is black. Underneath, they are permanently wearing an organza cap, a fabric imported directly from St. Gallen in Switzerland. Men wear the straw hat at work or the black felt hat if they are visiting or going to religious services. The “modest” clothing of the Amish distinguishes them “from the world” and responds to injunctions from the Bible.
Loan: Jacques Légeret, Paudex, author of L’énigme amish, Labor et Fides, 2017.