Flinserl, small metal leaf (Middle High German "vlins" = stone fragment). 1) Ear jewellery for men, worn in particular in the Biedermeier era as amulet or symbol by ox-cart drivers, sailors and carpenters; sometimes the flinserl was worn on the left ear, but generally stopped being used around 1870; the flinserl has enjoyed renewed popularity since the 1970s as a fashion accessory.
2) Parade figure in the carnival customs practised in Aussee, Styria; the flinserl parade through the area on Mardi Gras in costumes decorated with silver sequins as well as a cloth mask ("Gugel") and a pointed hat accompanied by music ("Flinserl-Music") in pairs ("Mandl" und "Weibl" - "Man" and "Woman") (some 30 to 40 flinserl participate in the custom). The origin and age of the custom are unknown, the first written account dates back to the second half of the 18th century.
Literature#L. Schmidt, Der Maennerohrschmuck im Volksschmuck und Volksglauben, 1947; F. Grieshofer, Faschingsbrauchtum, in: Oesterr. Volkskundeatlas, 5th instalment, 1974; O. Bockhorn, Faschingsbrauchtum in Oesterreich, Steiermark: Die "Flinserl", in: Wissensch. Film 24, 1980; H. Nikitsch, Der Maennerohrschmuck im heutigen Wien, in: Oesterr. Zeitschrift fuer Volkskunde 94/45, 1991. O. Bockhorn, Die "Flinserl", 1978 (educational film by the OeWF).