The oldest available information on Manneken-Pis costumes dates back to the 17th century. The statue is shown attired as a shepherd on one of the eight canvases painted by Denis Van Alsloot in 1615 and depicting the Ommegang parade.
The first written record of a costume being given dates back to 1698: on the occasion of the papegaai – a traditional yearly shooting competition – Maximilien-Emmanuel de Bavière, governor of the Spanish Netherlands, is said to have offered Manneken-Pis a blue Bavarian arquebusier’s uniform. Unfortunately, this costume has not survived to our era. In 2001, the Bavarian delegation to the European Union had a copy made for the statue’s wardrobe.
Lastly, the oldest costume that has been preserved was offered by Louis XV in 1747 by way of an apology for the attempted theft of Manneken-Pis by some of his soldiers, then garrisoned in Brussels. On this occasion, the King of France also decorated the statue by making it a Knight of the Royal Military Order of Saint-Louis, an honour only bestowed upon the bravest officers.