Around 1590 Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601) published in Venice one of the best-known works on Cinquecento costume, entitled De gli habiti antichi, et moderni di diverse parti del mondo. The two-volume volume, illustrated with engravings by Christoph Krieger, contains representative costumes from Europe, Asia and Africa, together with extensive commentaries that provide detailed information on the costume, the place of origin of the people and their customs. Among the pages the author devotes to Asia, with the inhabitants of India, is the Gypsy woman (cingara orientale). What stands out about her is the hat that covers her head, an element that Vecellio calls a “crown” in the original Italian text but which is called a bern in Gypsy women’s clothing. This consists of several wide ribbons wound or intertwined on a wide and more or less rigid base, which could sometimes be made of wicker or even wood. The use of this headdress does not seem to correspond to any kind of social or civil category, but rather it is possible that it was an element of protection for both women and children, useful against the rain or the sun, which they would have to face as a nomadic group constantly exposed to the inclemency of the weather. This female attire was complemented by the use of sackcloth over the body and cloaks over the shoulders, which often made it easier to carry children.
Project: 4. Family, daily life and social inequality in Europe., 7. Persecuted by justice and powers: rebels, political dissidents and criminals in the history of Europe., 9. Travels and travelers: economic, social and cultural connections.
Resource type: Image
Source: Gallica. Biblioteca Nacional de Francia. Departamento de Estampas y Fotografía
Owner: Blanca Rodríguez Hernández (Modernalia)
Copyright: Dominio público
Abstract: Engraving by Christoph Krieger, entitled Cingara orientale, included in De gli habiti antichiImage