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ETHNIC WALL HANGINGS
Peloponnessos, Greece (1830)
Albanian warriors introduced
foustanella into the Peloponnese region. Created
by special tailors, this garment measured up to 40 yards around and was
made of white linen panels which were covered with fat for waterproofing.
A short, richly decorated jacket worn over a full-sleeved white shirt,
embroidered leggings or white stockings, a sash and fez completed the outfit.
We communicate who we are and what we do through our clothing. Climate, function, wealth, custom, peer influence, religious belief, ceremony or special occasion, law and personal choice all determine how we dress. The clothing depicted in Flora Ormsby Smith's appliqués reflects the geography, history, and social conditions of the people in the cultures represented.
Of the twelve works, the Kampuchean (Cambodian) and Lithuanian pieces illustrate religious dress, while the other ten panels show how people dressed daily during a particular historical period.
These fabric appliqués only begin to suggest the variety of clothing styles in these countries through the ages. Greece has more than 35 national costumes and the Soviet Union many more. Certain articles of clothing are repeated in various nations such aprons, sashes, pouches, and embroidery. In several works the figures are shown dancing. The temple dancer of Kampuchea is posed mid-step and mid-gesture; the Irish couple demonstrates a traditional jig; the man and woman from Malapolska are dancing the Krakowiak; and the Swedish panel illustrates a circle dance known as the Varsovienne, in which many couples dance in a double circle with women on the outside and men on the inside.
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