Double-sided gingerbread mould with militiaman (front) and woman (back) Especially popular in northern Europe, gingerbread was made with both ginger and sugar. It was usually pressed in the shape of a figure or animal, using wooden moulds. These were often double-sided to save wood and also space in the kitchen. This example has a pike-holding militiaman on one side, and a fashionably dressed woman on the other, but carved into the block upside down. The resulting gingerbread militiaman is identical to that depicted in van Mieris’ Market stall (displayed to the left). The fact that this was painted over a century later proves the popularity of certain motifs, passed down from generation to generation.
Netherlands or Belgium, c.1620
Displayed with a pressing by Ivan Day, 2019 Private collection