Saturday, October 29, 2016

"I'm going to seach for my star

until I find it. It's hidden in the drawer of innocence, wrapped in a scarf of wonder."              
~Michael Jackson

As the weather cools off here in New Jersey, we tend to give up the t-shirt and flip flops for jackets and uggs.  I mentioned last week that I had ordered handcrafted scarves, and they arrived this week.

I love scarves, and I have them scattered about in the shop, and they are a favorite fashion buy whenever I am clothing shopping.  They make a bland outfit come to life, but from where did they come? 

Statues and carvings from Mesopotamia show bodies draped with fringed cloth worn as sashes or shawls. 

Scarves were evidently commonly worn in Iron Age Europe. The excavation of a bog burial in Denmark revealed a woman who was buried wearing a long checked wool scarf (approx. 5ft by 2ft) with fringed ends. Very modern looking! Viking women wore shawl-like garments, worn around the shoulders and pinned with a broach, either at the throat or the breast. Many of these shawls appear to be 'triangular', with a deep point at the back. It's thought that this effect may have been achieved by folding down (or stitching down) one corner of a square shawl, then folding in the two side points to make a pentagonal shape.

The ancient Greeks favored flowing fabrics in their dress, and their statues and vases show scarves, stoles, and shawls.
The wealthy women would use scarves twisted through their hair.
But it was during the Roman period that scarves as we know them really came to the fore. Roman women wore a palla, a long scarf or stole, over their long tunics. The palla was worn across the shoulders, or draped across the body and pinned or fastened at the shoulder. Like the ancient Greek women, Roman women favored elaborate hairstyles, often created by weaving strips of fabric into the hair. These strips can also be interpreted as scarves.

The focale was a scarf worn by Roman soldiers. Its main purpose seems to have been to protect the neck from rubbing from the metal or stiff leather armor. The focale appears to have been a long piece of wool or linen fabric, wrapped around the neck and knotted at the front. It would have been undyed, or perhaps in some cases red. 

My research revealed that neck scarves were worn in ancient China, and these scarves probably served several purposes including protecting the neck from chafing from armor, acting as an identifying mark (of rank and unit), or simply for warmth.

The early Christian period saw the rise of ecclesiastical scarves and stoles. The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, has a number of Egyptian scarf fragments (wool and linen mix) dating to the 4th/5th century AD, which are possibly religious in origin. The pallium, a long narrow stole of white wool embellished with crosses, dates back to at least the 4th century AD. Worn by the Pope, it's also one of the symbols bestowed on archbishops, and is still used today.

In Saxon times, concepts of Christian modesty meant that women covered their heads. Wealthy women favored headdresses, sometimes elaborate, but poorer women appear to have wrapped scarves - usually white or undyed - around their heads. Neckerchiefs were commonly worn around the neck.

Popular fashion houses manufactured scarves as fashion items in the 1800s. These were usually made from silk with ornate patterns, the most notable examples being those by Hermès.

As fashion scarf production increased due to consumer demand, they were made in cheaper fabrics such as rayon. Women who could not previously afford the luxe silk scarves could now indulge in the fashionable accessory as well.
Scarves became a common accessory for men and women in the 2oth century, and their patterns, fabrics, and styles were indicative of economic and social conditions.  WWII saw muted colors reflecting the mood and conservation of resources...dyes...then the 60s brought in bright colors and floral designs.  First Lady Jackie Kennedy was often seen with a scarf...

Here is a video so you can tie one on!


If you need a nice gift for someone, I have these wonderful handcrafted scarves - I will post a better picture when I get them all unpacked!
as well as a variety from Mona B...

So...as you think fall...or gifts...the scarf is a nice touch...

I am made for autumn. Summer and I have a fickle relationship, but everything about autumn is perfect to me. Woolly jumpers, Wellington boot, scarves, thin first, then thick, socks. The low slanting light, the crisp mornings, the chill in my fingers, those last warm sunny days before the rain and the wind. Her moody hues and subdued palate punctuated every now and again by a brilliant orange, scarlet or copper goodbye. She is my true love.
                                                             Alys Fowler  British horticulturist and journalist.
       

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