Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cap of St Birgitta - Italian style

In 2009 I made my first cap of St Birgitta. I discovered the cap through Medieval Silk Work (a fabulous blog if you haven't already discovered it) and decided I loved the cap.

Since making my fist cap in 2009, I have been keeping my eye out for images of these caps in other places/times.

I have found a number of Images from the 14th and 15th century in Italy that greatly resemble the shape and style of the cap suggested by Isis on her blog and in her article of the Cap of St Birgitta in Medieval Clothing and Textiles IV (Dahl, C.L. & I. Sturtewagen, 2008, The Cap of St. Birgitta, Medieval Clothing and Textiles vol. IV, pp. 99-129.). She talks about these plain white caps that can be seen "from the 13th to 15th centuries. Examples are known from Italy, France, The Low Countries, Scandinavia"...

Maciejowski Bible c 1250 | image from Medieval Silk Work

Images of this style of cap typically show a white cap that goes in an continuous line from the forehead to the nape of the neck. A loop at the base of the neck is then looped over the head (as seen above) to tension the cap and secure it in place. The length of the loop determines if the loop sits over the bun (as seen in the Maciejowski bible images above) or below the bun.

I have posted some images to more easily compare with the the following images I have collected:

1508 Girolamo di Benvenuto,
Portrait of a Young Woman
Although ties are not visible on this first image, the shape of the cap greatly resembles the Cap of St Birgitta, with the small white cap covering the hair and gathered at the base of the neck.

This young woman is also wearing a sheer veil over her cap.

1452-66 | Fra Filippo Lippi | Detail of
 Fresco cycle in the Prato Cathedral
This second image clearly shows the loop crisscrossed to the back of the head and worn behind the ears.

1328; Simone Martina: Detail of
 A Child fallen out his cradle healed by
 Blessed Augustine; Sienna
The earliest of the three, this last image is a little harder to see (this is a small figure in the original image), but you can see the cap worn under a sheer veil as in the first image. You can also see the indent in the cap at the back of the head that could indicate the loop.

Links and Sources:
-Dahl, C.L. & I. Sturtewagen, 2008, The Cap of St. Birgitta, Medieval Clothing and Textiles vol. IV, pp. 99-129
- Medieval Silk Work - Women's Caps
-More of my Cap of St Birgitta images on Pinterest
My tutorial on how to make the Cap of St Birgitta

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