Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Costume and embroidery of Segovia,. Castile, Spain

Hello all,
Today I will talk about one of the costumes of Castile, the heart of Spain and center of the Castillian language, which is the language which has spread to Latin America and elsewhere around the world.This language is often called 'Spanish', but Spain has other languages which are equally native and equally Spanish.
The history of Spain is quite complicated. The old Kingdom of Castile has become one of the major components of Spain,  east of Leon and west  of Aragon. It is shown on this map in red.

 Today I will focus on the province of Segovia, which is in the center of Castile, just north of Madrid.

 The costume of Segovia is quite colorful and complex. Here is a blog, in Castillian, dedicated to it. There is much good information available here if you browse.

The foundation of the costume is a chemise, camisa,  traditionally of linen, now sometimes out of cotton. Historically it was close to ankle length, more recently it has become shorter, coming to somewhat below the knees. The sleeves are set into the neck opening. The neck opening typically has embroidery, as do the cuffs. The shape and size of the opening vary even in the few images which I have found of it. The embroidery is usually all black and may consist of darning stitch, cross stitch, holbein stitch, and some other techniques. Typically there is a field on the upper front which is smock-gathered, and embroidery is done over the folds. The size of the gathered area varies.


 This one is unusual in its color, but is typical in its embroidery

 Today, bloomers, pantalon, and  linen or cotton petticoats, refajo or enagua, are worn with this costume.



 Fine knit stockings, calcetas or medias, usually white, are worn with this costume. The knit is done in various patterns. 

Garters of silk or other material are used to secure the stockings. These are called ligas.

The traditional shoes, zapatos, are  black leather or cloth, low and with a buckle on the toe.

A distinctive bodice is worn with this costume, if sleeveless, it is called justillo, if it has sleeves, it is called jubon. It has wide, trapezoidal lappets, and often has embroidery on the front. Often the neck is cut low enough that the embroidery on the top of the chemise is visible. Here are a couple examples of the justillo.

The jubon is more common than the justillo. The sleeves are cut out in one piece, the front of the arms and the back of the lower arms are often tied together with ribbons instead of being actually sewn together. There is often embroidery on the sleeves. Most commonly the jubon is red or black.

Sometimes there are more, narrower lappets that are cut out instead of sewn on. This type of bodice may be of brocade and edged with trim or ribbon. You can see that sometimes the peplum in front is underneath other clothing, and sometimes it is worn over the top.

Here are a few more images of the jubon.

The top skirt is called manteo. It is always ornamented; sometimes with a print design or applique, but most commonly with wide strips of lace, ribbon, gallon, velvet panels and/or passamenterie, often with beadwork, and these are often combined. The manteo is often red or black for the dressiest outfits, but may be yellow, blue, green or other colors as well. The manteo is rather full, and when covered with many ribbons often heavy.

The apron, delantal, is a panel of cloth, usually black, or black with a design which is ornamented with strips of velvet, galloon, and ribbon in the same manner as the manteo. Dress aprons are often of damask, brocade or patterned velvet. Take another look at the images above. 

As in many Spanish costumes a loose pocket is worn, usually on the right side [unless left handed]. These are called faltriquera and  are ornamented in various ways, with embroidery or fancy cloth with ribbons etc. These often lie partially under the apron.

As with most Spanish costumes, a Manila shawl may be worn. Fortunately, this is less common in Segovia, as the women prefer to show off the embroidery on the jubon. In any case, these were originally imported from China, and even today the embroidery on them tends to be completely in the Chinese style. 

An abundance of jewelry is worn, including rings, earrings, and complex necklaces with large beads and  a cross.

The hat, montera, is the most distinctive and diagnostic part of this costume. This looks almost like a rectangular military cap worn sideways on the head. The front and back have large triangular flaps that are attached at the tips. The top has a large pompom, the front and back triangles are embroidered, or at least have random beads or spangles sewn onto them, and the rectangular sides have knobs or buttons on them, often metallic. These are called 'apostles', because there are six on each side. Often a white lace veil is worn under the hat.

For church and some other formal occasions, a mantle, mantilla, is worn over  the head, as  in many other parts of Spain. 

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this glimpse of Old Castile to be informative and interesting.

Here is a youth group doing a traditional dance from Segovia. They are wearing simple costumes appropriate for dancing, including albarcas  instead of zapatas. These are moccasin type footwear made of leather, or as here, of cloth, being held on with laces.

Short clip of the Jota from Segovia. Nice costumes. One of the girls, in the yellow skirt and straw hat, is wearing a costume from Avila.

A better clip of a Jota from Segovia. The skirts are rather too short, but notice that they are all different.

email  rkozakand@aol.com

Source Material:
Angelo Lopez Garcia-Bermejo et al, 'La Indumentaria  Tradicional Segoviana', Segovia, 2000
Isabel de Palencia, 'The Regional Costumes of Spain', Madrid, 1926
Oscar de la Renta et al, 'Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress', New York, 2011 
Jose Ortiz Echague, 'Espana, Tipos y Trajes', Madrid, 1953
Isabel de Palencia, 'Regional Costumes of Spain', Madrid, 1926
Manuel Comba, 'Trajes Regionales Espanoles', Madrid, 1977
Cesar Justel, 'Espana, Trajes Regionales', Madrid, 1997
Lilla Fox, 'Folk Costumes of Southern Europe', Boston, 1972
Jose Manuel Gomez-Tabanera, 'Trajes Populares y Costumbres Tradicionales', Madrid, 1950

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