Ornamental gates in Altes Land
The gate, leading to the courtyard
Erroneously named as "bride gate" or "wedding gate", the ornamental
gates in Altes Land are extraordinary examples of architecture
which are used as courtyard entrances and represented wealth.
There is a grape hanging above the often rounded gateway which were applied as a fertility symbol. Lion heads, mounted to both sides, were both status symbols and threatening, stylized gatekeepers at the same time because a certain amount of superstition couldn’t simply do any harm. A small footpath is used for pedestrian traffic, rows of joists and pillars provide the basis for the detailed woodcarving above the footpath. Thick, inclined joists hold the three fundamental piles, the hipped roof covered with roof tiles is located on its braces. The gates are painted in white, whereas the carved wooden figures above the footpath as well as the profile of the woodwork are painted with colour.
It is supposed that the same craftsmen who also were involved in
building churches, produced these gates in the 17th /18th century
but the origin of the ornamental gates is uncertain.
But there are new ornamental gates as you can see in the museum in Altes Land or in villages like Borstel, Neuenkirchen or Neuenfelde. The oldest and most beautiful ones are located in the "third mile".
In Low German, this artwork is considered as "Puurt" which means gate, a term which was likely added to the family name: In this way, the family naming "Puurten-Quast" was to distinguish easily from families with the same family name.