Gala Ensemble for a Woman from Baranello, Molise, Italy

Gala ensemble for special events such as Sundays, festivals, weddings, and even burial. The costume itself reflects the wearer's social position. The headdress was worn only by a married woman, as were the fringed belt and lowered bodice front; the lavish jewelry (here reproduction) and elaborate ornament, such as that on the apron, were used to demonstrate wealth. The shape of the apron, a folded, flat rectangle under a brilliantly colored tie, shows off the borders of figured silk ribbon and the embroidery, which includes birds and flowers around a vase, a symbol of riches.

Artist/maker unknown, Italian

Geography:
Made in Baranello, Campobasso, Molise, Italy, Europe

Date:
Late 19th - early 20th century

Medium:
Wool, silk, cotton, linen, beads

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1966-38-6a--g

Credit Line:
Bequest of Helen P. McMullan, 1966

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This ensemble from the village of Baranello in central Italy would have been worn only for special occasions--Sundays, festivals, weddings, and even burial. Such regional or folk dress, outside the mainstream of Western fashion, developed in response to the dictates of custom and the desire to identify with a community. The costume itself reflected the wearer's social position: the headdress, for example, was worn only by a married woman, as were the fringed belt and lowered bodice front; the lavish jewelry and elaborate ornament, such as that on the colorful apron, were used to demonstrate wealth. The shape of the apron--a folded, flat rectangle under a brilliantly colored tie--shows off the borders of figured silk ribbon and the embroidery, which includes birds and flowers around a vase, a symbol of riches. This is one of thirty-nine costumes, collected by the Philadelphian Helen McMullan in the 1930s and bequeathed to the Museum in 1966, that form the most comprehensive collection of Italian folk dress in North America. H. Kristina Haugland, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 92.