inFOCUS: Transylvanian hats, caps and headscarves

inFOCUS is a project in partnership with the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnology Cluj-Napoca. Every week, will be post a section of the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnology exhibition.

This week, takes a closer look at the traditional Transylvanian headwear and the wide collection of hats, caps and headscarves at the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnology.

Transylvania has many ethnographic areas with distinct personalities, and local folk costumes illuminates the diversity within this region. Developing over time but retaining their basic structure, traditional folk costumes survived until the epoch of rapid industrialisation (19601965.) The museum has a dedicated team of conservators that have restored and preserve these traditional folk costume which generally date from the later part of the 19th century.

Head decorations and hair coverings illustrated the marital status as well as the social or economic level of the wearer. They also identify the wearer as apart of an ethnic or regional group.

These two pairs from Făgăraș County and Mărginimea Sibiului emphasise the common elements as well as certain distinguishing features between the neighbouring regions despite being from the same Romanian ethnic group.

Embroidered felt hat for a man from Fagaras County.

Woman’s headscarf and beaded headband from Fagaras County.

Man’s plain felt cap from Marginimea Sibiului.

Woman’s headscarf from Marginimea Sibiului.

However, the differences between the headwear of a Széker woman is much more pronounced. Whilst the Romanian costumes were made entirely within the house, this Szekler bonnet contains bought materials and suggest urbanity and wealth.

Szekler woman’s bonnet partially made from bought materials. 

Although the Oas and Maramures are neighbouring and compact regions, the Oaș have more in common with the Crisana than Maramureș. The difference is in headwear is particularly noticeable in the men, with the male Maramures outfit consisting of the archaic sheep skin cloak and fur hat.

Woman’s brightly coloured and printed headscarf from Oas.

Man’s straw hat with embellishments from Oas.

Straw hat for a boy with woollen band from Oas.

Woman’s plain printed headscarf from Maramures.

Man’s woollen cap from Maramures .

Hat worn by man from Năsăud with beaded headband and elaborate peacock feather and embroidery decoration.

Headband worn by woman from Nasaud with peacock feathers and beaded decoration.

This headdress would have been worn by a wealthy Saxon women from the region of Bistrița. The Saxon community, which emigrated to Transylvania in the 13th century, enjoyed a privileged social-economic status. However, the gradually began to incorporate elements of clothing from the nearby Romanian Nasaud community.

Headdress worn by Saxon woman from the Bistrita region.

This pair from the Hungarian region of Călata demonstrate a wealthy and important status.

Pearl cap for a woman from the Hungarian region of Calata.

Felt hat for a man from the Hungarian region of Calata.


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