Interesting facts 

That’s how our Ancestors made Life easier

In the era before the industrial revolution, when people were mostly self-sufficient, they conceived various tools that made their everyday life easier. These objects were often produced from things that could not be used otherwise. Throwing away was alien to our ancestors and a luxury they could not afford. Thus from small wood remnants were made wooden documents, called “Tesseln”, and the bones of the animals were processed to toys. The everyday objects were often artfully decorated. On the one hand, people often had a lot of time during the winter months since the work on the field rested. On the other hand, they had no need for pure art objects, which is why they lived their sense of art in the everyday life. 

 

Not every tradition is suited to survive in a changing modern world,. Parallel to the rustic way of life the “Tessel” disappeared from the high Valais' everyday life. The “Tesseln” (Tässlä) are documents carved in wood. Rights and duties were inscribed on wood pieces by means of notches. The alp rights for instance, fixing the number of cattle heads a family could bring in summer to the alp. Another example is the irrigation. The order and the duration of the irrigation for each legitimate landowner were duly consigned: a whole notch in the wood stood for four hours of water, half a notch for two hours. Sometimes the hierarchy in collective works was registered on the carved wood pieces. They defined the order to tend goats and sheep, to overtake the night watch in the village, to carry on voluntary works, the assignment of the alp reeve, to bear the flag during the procession or to be the chapel ecclesiastic.

The children used the cattle's boiled ankle bones as toy animals. The big bones represented cows “Eschlchie” , the small ones calves “Eschlchalber”. In the pre-industrial era the mountain world lived in a scarce goods economy. Nothing was thrown away; saving was the key word, even in the children's world.

The baking tin “Leibsärru” was used to give the rye bread dough a flat, round shape. It was carved and decorated from larch wood and represents the pre-industrial society's artistic sense. It is also a symbol for the alpine self-sufficiency thanks to stock farming and agriculture.