Pubic capsule

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King Henry VIII of England in pompous robe with a pubic capsule. Painting by Hans Holbein the Elder Younger, around 1540
Articulated umbrellas as armaments component according to Wendelin Boeheim

Pubic capsule (also Braguette , Bragetto , Brayette , Latz or Gliedschirm ) is the name for the conspicuously designed pant flap , which was fashionable for men in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Historical development

In the 14th century, men's fashion changed in some parts of Europe. The knee-length or floor-length skirts were shorter and reduced to a jacket. The leg warmers and stockings previously worn individually were combined with the bruoch (underpants) to make trousers or tights . The pants were cut tight. To provide the necessary freedom of movement, the two leg tubes were connected with a crotch insert that was unbuttoned at the front as a bib. The pubic capsule developed from this bib.

The pubic capsule was often contrasted in color with the trousers, padded and decorated with ribbons and bows. Sometimes it also contained small pockets. The shape of the pad varied depending on the taste of the wearer. There were round cushions, but also those in the shape of a banana or cucumber. The sexual innuendo contained therein was obvious.

Removable genital capsule on Henry VIII's armor.

Even with the knightly armor, especially the plate armor , the brayette was usually a genital protection consisting of a round, oval-shaped metal plate. Since plate armor placed emphasis on the greatest possible freedom of movement, the genital area initially remained virtually unprotected - only a long chain mail worn under the armor provided a certain protection. Towards the end of the 15th century, the so-called braguette or brayette appeared in Switzerland, which could be easily removed for urinating or riding. In the middle of the 16th century it became fashionable to have a harness with the largest possible brayette as a symbol of male potency. The "Gliedschirm" was developed around 1520 as a countermeasure against the custom of the German pikemen to stab the unprotected genitals . This variant of the pubic capsules was mainly used to protect the penis . From this, the so-called “bib” developed, which was not always made of sheet iron between 1550 and 1570, but was also worn from reinforced textiles for everyday wear.

This emphasis on the genital area has been particularly sharply criticized by the Church. In 1555, Andreas Musculus described in detail the sins of fashion at that time in his work Hosen-Teuffel . The pubic capsule symbolized male potency and constant sexual readiness. But even after the Counter-Reformation , it remained part of trouser fashion. It was not until the end of the 16th century that the pubic capsule largely disappeared from the scene.

In bourgeois fashion since the French Revolution , only women were allowed to show off their erotic charms in a demonstrative way (see corsets , bras ), or they were even expected to do so.

Similar developments

In other parts of the world there have also been articles of clothing or jewelry that have been specially designed to hold the male genitals, such as penis sheaths (also penis quivers or koteka), for thousands of years .


  • Gundula Wolter : The packaging of the male sex. An illustrated cultural history of the pants (= AtV 8060). Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-7466-8060-3 .

Web links

Commons : Pubic Capsules  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: pubic capsule  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Wendelin Boeheim : Handbook of the weapon customer. The weapon system in its historical development from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century (= Seemanns Kunstgewerbliche Handbücher. Vol. 7, ZDB -ID 53757-3 ). Seemann, Leipzig 1890, pp. 100-101 (reprint. Fourier Verlag, Wiesbaden 1985, ISBN 3-201-00257-7 ).
  2. Andreas Musculus : Vom Hosen-Teuffel. sn, sl (Frankfurt an der Oder) MDLV. (1555), digitized .