The Morris Dancers

Back in 1472, when Erasmus Grasser requested Admission to the painters' guild of Munich, he was called an "unfriendly, obscure and malicious farmhand". Request denied! Only a few years later, he was to create history with the creation of the morris dancing figures for the design of Munich's city hall.


Before him, no one ever possessed the sculptural finesse to bring three-dimensional figures not only to life, but to dance. Grasser died one of the wealthiest citicens and director of the painters' guild.


Nowadays, his morris dancers are symbols of Munich and count among the most significant pieces of profane art.

Moriskentänzer Tanzgruppe TU München

The morris dancer cult in Munich extends this far: there is a dancing group of the Technical University Munich that performs the acrobatic dance wearing costumes of the Grasser figures.

On the one hand, their meaning for Munich's identity is reflected in the fact that they are part of the Octoberfest Parade when each year, the Klucker Family provides a dancer for their float. On the other hand, merited citizens of the city are being being appointed "Honor Morrisses".

Morris dancers are always in fashion - here are some articles for your Information:


"Münchner Stadtmuseum - Die Moriskentänzer"


"Münchner Moriskentänzergruppe- Tanzgruppe der Technischen Universität München"


"Historisches Lexikon Bayern - Erasmus Grasser, Moriskentänzer, 1480"


Video: Section of the Morris Erasmus Grasser Documentary: (Source: Youtube)




The Making of a Dancer in our Company

Michael Pfaffenzeller - Moriskentänzer Mohr

When carving the morris dancers, it is a huge challenge to match posture and facial expression precisely.


We use around 100 different chisels and knives to manufacture the figures with their countless delicate details from wood.

Morris dancers are being painted in a very elaborate antique way.

It includes 32 different steps. Only this process guarantees the strong and expressive colouring which makes the morris dancers such eye catchers!


The base coat alone comprises eight different layers of glue and chalk, which are being applied gradually. They need to dry in between and are being ground repeatedly.

A poliment layer is required to apply the 33 carat leaf gold. Only a single drop of glue decides, whether the gold will shine after polishing or look scratchy or even flake.

Our specialization in painting is focused on the eyes and the multifaceted design of the skin parts, because this is where the naturalness of a figure is being decided.

Finally, the dancer receives its antique look through patination.


Examples of our Dancers

Here you can browse through some of our finished pieces.