A large public festival was held for the wedding of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (1786-1868) to Therese of Sax-Hildburghausen (1792-1854) in 1810. Because it attracted so much attention, it became the annual Oktoberfest. Part of the festival was a horse race that took place on the Theresienwiese, named after the princess. The king had his own grandstand here for his family and guests of honour. The roof of an Ottoman tent seized in the 17th century was stretched over it to magnificently decorate it. It was probably the big tent "on two poles" that is mentioned in the electoral armoury’s inventory from 1776, which is unfortunately lost today.
The two crescent moons placed on the top of the poles have been preserved. The moons have faces: the eyes, nose, mouth and chin have been clearly sculpted. Moons with faces do not fit into Islamic culture, they are a European invention. This is therefore an element from Bavarian arts and crafts. Although the crescent motif played a major role as a motif in the Ottoman Empire, it was only from a European perspective that it became a clear symbol for the Orient. Perhaps the moons were made for the horse race in 1810, but maybe they are a bit older. The Ottoman tents have been used for the House of Wittelsbach’s festivals ever since they were seized, and oriental motifs were very popular.
Dr. Ansgar Reiß