General description: Doll with traditional Piedmontese costume, but the Piedmont region is so diverse and as I have not found which region this comes from nor any pictures showing this particular hat, I wonder if it is just a fantasy costume.
Dimensions 19.5 x 9 x 9.5 cm
Date when acquired July 2017
Original Date Unknown
Source KIM second shop in Göttingen. It has a label stuck to the apron saying 42 Piedmonte.
Plastic doll with non-movable arms and legs. Her features are painted on. Her long dark blonde hair is drawn back from a middle parting in two thick plaits going down to her waist. She is standing on a circular black plastic base (dia. 4.4 cm).
This lady is wearing an ensemble consisting of blouse, waistcoat, skirt, apron and headdress. The blouse is made of fine white lawn and its short-sleeved puffed sleeves end at the elbow with cuffs of white lace. The round neckline has a ruff of white lace. The black felt waistcoat has a piece of red material in the V of the neckline, made by laying the left front of the waistcoat over the right front. The long wide skirt is made of shiny material in two horizontal panels, a dark blue one from the waist to the knees and then red to the floor. The seam between these is hidden below a band of gold braid. The skirt is stiffened by white material stuck to the inside of the skirt. The light grey apron is tied by a lilac ribbon in a bow at the back. The front of the apron is decorated by a piece of gold and red braid. Her underclothes are just a pair of white cotton panties. She is wearing low black plastic shoes.
On her head is a headdress made of white lawn and lace. A large ruff of pleated and stiffened lawn is attached to a band of white ribbon going around her head and tied at the nape. The pleats are hemmed with white lace as is the ribbon at the front. The ruff stands up over the back of her head and looks a little like a coiffe soleil (a sunburst hat; see below) but stands directed backwards and not like a sunburst around her head.
She is carrying a basket with flowers on her back, possibly indicating she is a flower seller.
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy and lies in its north-west at the foot of the Alps, bordering France and Switzerland. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. Although the name Piedmont was first mentioned in 1193, this region in Italy has only had its present political form since the end of World War II. It certainly was not always called Piedmont and is not a uniform entity but the result of centuries of political development.
The main language is Italian, though many inhabitants speak the regional Piemontish (developed in 17th century). In the remoter regions people speak Occitan, Franco-Provençal or Walliser German, reflecting the different peoples who live in this area.
Looking at the pictures in the search machine when Piedmont is researched, then there are many different styles of traditional clothing to be found. However, none of which match those seen on this doll. The closest I could find was the picture above, but the description only refers to Piedmont and not the specific town or village.
General description Lady in a very expensive costume (very wide brocade skirt)
Dimensions 14 x 11 x 7 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in Bochum, apparently originally bought in Venice; present from Fritz W.
Plastic body with movable eyes, arms and legs. Her ginger hair is drawn back from a side parting (right) to form a bun at the back of her head. Her hair is held in place by a fine black net, tied below her right ear with long black bands hanging down to her waist.
She has a very wide petrol blue brocade skirt with a 1.5-cm-wide band of white and silver braid 1 cm above the hem. Her tight bodice is made of black silk ribbon. A long white shawl is draped over her shoulders, reaching down to her waist. It has a long black fringe with gold thread woven into the band. The shawl is pinned in place by a rose made of pink silk ribbon. A piece of white lace peeps out from the V of the shawl at her neck.
She has white cotton panties on under her skirt and one white high-heeled plastic shoe (the left one is missing).
For general information about Italian costumes see the Italy text.
General description: This lady is wearing a fashionable ensemble typical of France’s Beautiful Era (la Belle Époque) at the turn of the 19th to 20th century.
Dimensions 22 x 10 x 6 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in Cahors, France; present from Sally and Colin Barrow
China doll with moveable arms and legs and life-like modelling of the face with painted features. Her long curly hair has a long roll over the forehead and falls down to her waist.
She is wearing a complicated off-the-shoulder dress made of silk, brocade and chiffon. The bodice of the dress is in two layers: an under-bodice of maroon brocade with an over-bodice of maroon silk that curves from a point in the middle of the chest above the breasts down to the waist at the back. The top and bottom edges of this has black braid around it. Three long rounded lappets of maroon silk with black braid on their hems are attached to the front of the bodice. The top of the bodice has a piece of maroon chiffon going around it and across the top of the arms, leaving the shoulders free. Underneath the front lappets is an apron-like skirt, which is open at the back leaving the underskirt freely visible. The underskirt is made of old pink chiffon. The front part under the ‘apron’ is smooth and falls to just below the knees. The back part is irregularly pleated horizontally. Around the bottom of the underskirt is a flared pleated piece of chiffon falling from just below the knees to the ground. At the back are two folded pieces of maroon silk, one on top of each other, with the one underneath being longer than the top by about 2 cm. These seem to represent the bustle worn previously in the Belle Époque , but which had disappeared by 1905. The maroon silk parts of the skirt and the ‘bustle’ are decorated with a print of a black scroll/leaf-like pattern.
She is wearing long white cotton pantaloons with white lace around the cuffs. Her high-heeled black shoes are painted on.
Her wide-brimmed black felt hat is very impressive. It is set off-centre on the right of her head. It has a low crown. On the right of the crown is a decoration made of maroon feathers; a long brown chiffon ribbon tied in a bow, with its lappets falling to the doll’s knees; a small shiny green bow with an interesting maroon silk ribbon flower.
She has a drawstring handbag attached to the wrist of her left hand. It is made of the same printed maroon silk as the overdress. It has a black tassel attached to its base and a black ribbon to form its straps. Two rectangular beads are sewn to where it is gathered at the front.
La Bell Époque is considered to be a period of 43 years between two wars: from the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the outbreak of World War I (1914). It was a period characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, apex of colonial empires and technological, scientific and cultural innovations. During this era, the Parisian bourgeoisie, or the successful industrialists called nouveau-riches (new rich), became increasingly influenced by the habits and fads of the city’s elite social class, known popularly as Tout-Paris (all Paris)
A high-fashion organisation, the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne, was created in 1868 just before the officially recognised start of the Belle Époque. At the beginning of this era, the haute couture (high fashion) industry was dominated by the House of Worth as Charles Worth was the designer of the French Empress Eugénie’s clothes and he turned high fashion into an industry. By 1900, there were more than twenty houses of haute couture in Paris, led by designers including Blanche Lebouvier, Callot Sœurs, Georges Doeuillet, Margaine-Lacroix, Jeanne Paquin, Paul Poiret, Raudnitz, Redfern, Rouff, and others, including the sons of Charles Worth. Most of these houses had fewer than fifty employees, but the top six or seven firms each had between four hundred and nine hundred employees. Although the first fashion show with models took place in London in 1908; the idea was quickly copied in Paris, so the cat walks of Paris have a history of more than 109 years.
General description: Alsatian woman in traditional clothing. Her black headdress means she is either a young Protestant woman or married.
Dimensions 14.5 x 11.5 x 5 cm
Date when acquired 2016
Original Date Unknown
Source Göttingen flea market; present form Fritz W.
Plastic doll with painted features. Her arms and legs are movable. Her long black hair is pulled back from a central parting to a bun at the back.
The doll has a very wide long red silk skirt. The material and the generous cut are typical of the later style of the Alsatian costume and especially of the towns, where the people were able to buy material rather than make it themselves. Its red colour is symbolic for fire and life. A three-threaded black and gold braid is used to decorate the skirt about 2 cm above the hem. This is very similar to the braid used on the Santon Alsatian old woman doll.
This young lady is not wearing the typical blouse, collarette or corselet but just a pale lilac silk shawl over her shoulders edged with white lace. The shawl falls to a point at the back just below her waist and is tucked into her apron at the front. As is typical for this region the black silk apron is plain, though it is edged with black lace on all three sides. It is gathered at the waist and tied at the back. A glossy gold and red label with the word Alsace written on it is stuck to the bottom of the apron.
The doll is wearing none of the underclothes, stockings or shoes usually worn in this region but she has the typical headdress made of black silk used by young girls and married protestant women after 1830. A tricolour ribbon is attached to the left wing of the large bow. This bow is more generous than that of the Alsatian Santon as are the lappets which hang down to her waist at the back.
The Alsace is a cultural and historical region in eastern France now located in the administrative region of Grand Est. Alsace is located on France’s eastern border and on the west bank of the upper Rhine adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. After the break-up of the Holy Roman Empire, the region was taken over by France. In the 19th century it was ceded to Germany. It then became part of France after the First World War, was overrun by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. After that war it was returned to France but has its own legal structures (local law) and nowadays the Alsatian language and culture are having a renaissance.
What is called the traditional Alsatian costume today developed slowly throughout the 18th century. It was suited to local conditions, varying from one area to another, and even from town to town. Like so many European and French costumes, it is characteristic of its time, the religious and political beliefs. Elements of the prevailing fashion in the urban centres were incorporated into the rural style. The material, colours and cut define the Alsatian costume. The straight cut and rectangular forms characterize the early period when clothes were made at home out of linen, hemp, etc., and care was taken not to waste any material. Later, the Alsatians were able to buy manufactured material. The larger pieces of material enabled them to make folds and more generous cuts. Brighter colours were chosen: bright white, brilliant red (the colour of fire and life), blue, green, purple and black were used.
The women’s costume consisted of a large, long-sleeved cotton blouse, a long, ample skirt covering the calves down to the ankles, a corselet attached to the skirt and a long, plain apron worn over the skirt, tightened round the waist and fastened with a big bow in the back. The shawl, often matching the apron and initially worn on the head is, at present, worn round the neck and over the shoulders. The stockings, made of wool, were crocheted or knitted. The women wore hardy, heavy dark chestnut clogs (sabot) during the week, and light-coloured or painted, lightweight lime-wood clogs on Sundays and festive occasions.
The blouse evolved from the long linen blouse worn by peasants in the 17th century to one with a stiff collar to a soft, turned-down collar. The sleeves were long and pleated, usually tied with ribbons in the 18th century.
The collarette was knitted or made of linen, it covered the open collar of the blouse. It had a lace-knitted border which matched the sleeve ends. The collarette has a square or rounded shape.
The corselet was made of fine material and was attached to the skirt. Worn snug over the blouse, it was laced up in front, hooked at the base or knotted with a silk ribbon.
The skirt was usually worn over the blouse and is wide with many folds. Peasants wore it mid-calf length while city dwellers wore one down to the ankle. Originally two-toned (top to bottom), it was solid-coloured (green, red, purple or brown) after 1830. It was made of silk, cotton or flannel. The Protestant skirt was usually decorated with one or more flowered velvet ribbons at the bottom, while the Catholics had no decoration.
An ornamental front was tucked into the corselet’s neckline. Originally, a simple piece of red cloth to keep warm and cover the blouse’s opening, it became one of the most sumptuous elements of the costume. It is richly decorated with ribbons, flowers, colourful glass, sequins or stamped metal bits at the top where it is visible above the corselet. Seamstresses achieved true works of art decorating them with flower motifs, trees of life, solar wheels, stars, fruit cornucopia, curved motifs, rosettes, etc.
The apron, worn over the skirt, is an integral element of every Alsatian costume. Originally, it was made of simple white linen, but after 1870, it was made of flowery, silk, satin or taffeta. It is pleated and tightened at the waist by two ribbons that cross in the back and tie into a big bow in front. The bottom of the apron can be decorated with ribbons and lace.
The stockings were white and hand-knitted or crocheted, with varying patterns.
The flat-heeled shoes were decorated with either a ribbon or a buckle.
The shawl is both decorative and useful as it keeps the wearer warm. It is made of silk with a long fringe, and is flowered, checked, sparkling or embroidered. It is usually worn knotted or overlapping.
The headdresses are typical of the Alsatian costume, and are either knotted bonnets or “beard” bonnets. Embroidered with silver and gold, with sequins and motifs, made of damask or printed cotton, decorated with small glass pieces or stones from the Rhine. Often lined with lace. Around 1830, this headdress had a frontal knot, which kept getting larger, reaching 1 metre in diameter in the 1890s, the so-called schlupfkàpp (a bow cap). The colour of the ribbon depended on religious beliefs: black for young Protestant women, red or multi-coloured for young Catholics. Married women of both religions wore black headdresses. This unique form of headdress lasted into the 1940s before mostly disappearing.
General description: This doll is a married Bressane, a woman from the region of Bresse in France wearing the typical Brelot hat.
Dimensions 20 x 14 x 9 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in the Bochum area; present from Fritz W.
Plastic doll with painted features and movable arms. Her brown hair is pulled back from a central parting to a bun at the back of her head.
She is not wearing the standard base garment, a chemise, but just a long black silk-like dress with a very wide skirt. The three-quarter sleeves have white lace cuffs. The same white lace has been used to edge the V-neck of the dress. The material at the back of the dress has become bronzed with age and exposure to light.
She is wearing no underclothes apart from a small pair of blue panties.
Over the dress she is wearing a shawl around her shoulders tucked into an apron. The shawl (fichu) is made of dark pink silk printed with red and blue flowers. It reaches down to her waist both front and back, and is tucked into the apron at the front. The apron is not the typical long pinafore with a bib but is short and tied at the waist with a pink silk ribbon with a bow at the front. The apron is made of silk embroidered with very large flowers in light pink, light blue, yellow and green. The sides and lower edge of the apron are hemmed with a wide band of white lace.
She is a very impressive Brelot hat made of a circle of black felt (now browned by exposure to the sun). The small high conical crown, finial, is decorated with gold thread. A gold string is attached to it (though this may have been used to hang the doll up). A band of black lace hanging down to the woman’s waist covers the back three-quarters of the brim, with a panel of short black lace at the front which hangs down to her chin at the front. The back of the lace is bronzed, again due to exposure to light. The doll is not wearing the usual coif under the Brelot.
A gold cross with rounded points is affixed to just below her throat.
Bresse (Brêsse) is a former French province. It is now located in the modern regions of Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne, and Franche-Comté of eastern France.
Except for its headdress, the female costume of Bresse is much like that of the other areas of central France. The base garment is a chemise (missing in this doll), with lace at the neckline and full sleeves gathered into a cuff, or with short sleeves. A petticoat (or more than one) is worn, along with bloomers and knitted stockings (the doll has only knickers and no petticoats, bloomers or stockings). Over this is worn a dress, with attached bodice and sleeves. This can be in various colours, wool in the winter and silk in the summer. It may have 3/4 sleeves which widen towards the cuff so as to show the chemise’s sleeves. The dress’s sleeves may also be full length or elbow length. The bodice laces or buttons up the front. There are two or three bands of black velvet ribbon sewn above the hem (these are not present on this doll).
A shoulder shawl (fichu) is worn. It may be a single colour with ribbon near the edge, or it may be cotton or silk print with a border design. The point hangs to the waist in back, it is pinned to the shoulders and is fastened in front. It is of a colour which contrasts with the dress. It may have a fringe.
Over all of this, a large pinafore apron is worn. The skirt of the apron is full, covering the front and sides of the dress, and is a few inches shorter than the hem of the dress. There is a large bib which is pinned in place, ‘pin-afore’. The top of the bib may be curved or in a v shape. The top of the bib may have trim, tucks, or sometimes even metallic embroidery. The apron should be of a colour which contrasts with both the dress and the shoulder shawl. The bib may be pinned with straight pins, or with small brooches. There may be silver or gold chains attached to these.
Either black leather shoes or wooden shoes (sabot) may be worn (the doll is shoeless).
As in all French costumes, a coif (a woman’s close-fitting cap) is mandatory. The Bressan coif is relatively simple in construction. It consists of one piece with a border. Two to five rows of goffered (crimped or pleated with a hot iron) lace are attached to the edge. It is made of tulle or fine cotton or linen. A Bressane woman would never leave the house uncoiffed. The back of the coif is embroidered with various motifs, usually floral. A band of matching cotton or linen, also edged with goffered lace, buttons under the chin to secure the coif for married women. Single girls wear a coif with a red silk ribbon. In times of mourning, single girls would replace the red ribbon with black. For work, and in case of mourning, the coif is made of simple white muslin.
For dress occasions, a very unusual hat is worn over the coif. This is called the Brelot. It is only worn by married women. The Brelot consists of a rigid disk of felt topped by a hollow sort of finial on a brass framework. The top of the finial often has a small tuft of lace and artificial flowers. The disk is also covered with black lace, and there are lace panels which hang off the sides and back down past the shoulders. The front has a short lace panel. The Brelot is held in place with a black velvet ribbon secured under the chin (this is lacking in this doll). The brelot may be ornamented with gold chains and pins. The shape is apparently like the Saracen chimneys found in the Bresse region.
General description: Doll in Ancient Latvian Dress (7th – 13th century)
Dimensions 16 x 11 x 8 cm
Date when acquired 2017
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in Groß Schneen
The doll’s body and head are made of wood. Her features are painted on, but they are lacking the white of the eyes found in the previous doll of this design. Her bent arms are made of wire with wooden beads attached to the ends to act like hands. Her hair is white silk drawn back from a central parting and tied in a single thick plait down to her waist. The plait is tied with yellow wool
She is wearing a white long-sleeved cotton blouse over a long, wide, dark brown skirt made of a thick knitted material. Two lines of light brown stitching adorn the hem. A rough plain beige linen sash (josta) is holding her skirt in place. She has a large dark blue rectangular shawl (villaine) over her shoulders, which goes down below her hips. It is held in place at the front by a round brooch. Again the edges are decorated with lines of plain back stitch in yellow and orange. The tassels of the front edge are larger than in the other doll. Her long white cotton petticoat is also edged with white lace.
In contrast to the previous doll, the materials for the skirt and shawl appear to be made of man-made fibres, as is her hair. This seems to indicate that she is a newer version of this type of traditional doll.
Her jewellery is made of bronze with silver elements rather than just of bronze. She is wearing a circlet around her head with two sets of four long pendants hanging down the back. Around her neck is a sort of breastplate with four stiff silver chains over it. She also has two silver chokers tight around her neck.
See previously posted doll with ancient Latvian dress (1)
General description: Empress in full regalia, wearing a phoenix crown (Fengguan) and standing on a dark wooden dais. Most probably part of a Japanese Doll Festival set representing the female part (mebina, hime or O-hina-sama) of the royal pair (the dairi-bina) which form the middle point of this group of dolls.
Dimensions Doll: 8.5 x 6.5 x 4 cm / Dias: 10 x 6.9 x 2 cm
Date when acquired 2017
Original Date Unknown
Source Erbsen flea market; present from Fritz W.
From the head and feet, the body seems to be made of plaster. The doll’s hair and facial features are painted on, as is a brown band extending from the temples backwards to form a bow at the back, whose ends are almost as long as the empress’ hair. The brown band is decorated with a geometric pattern of gold lines. Her hair is straight with a central parting and is tied in a form of ponytail that reaches below her waist. The hairstyle seems to be that typical of the late Edo Period of the 1850s known as Osuberakashi (Simple Tied-back Hair).
As with all Kimekomi ningyou dolls, the clothing is fitted to the form and inserted into cuts into the surface before being glued. She is wearing a kimono made of orange brocade with a golden floral design covered by a very heavily padded coat-like piece of clothing, an uchikake. This is made of a beige brocade decorated with a golden scroll design.
Her overall shape is rather strange to my eyes as she seems to have a hump on her back. I have not been able to find anything like this in the dolls or pictures of Japanese dolls on the internet.
Her left hand can be seen poking out of the large sleeves of the uchikake, while the traditional large open folding fan (Sensu or O-gi) is held in her right hand. The fan is edged in red and has a meadow of flowers painted on it.
On her feet are white split-toed socks (tabi). Behind these is an area of mint green brocade.
On the empress’ head is an imposing bronze crown with a bird — a phoenix — on top. On each side are two metal chains with white beads and small squares of bronze as decoration. A metal plate like straight wings is attached to the back of the crown. A red cord is looped around the top left of the crown, one part of the loop goes to the right of the crown and then through a hole in the side of the crown and out through a hole on the left side. Both this and the other end of the loop go down to the front of the uchikake where they are tied in a bow with the cords coming from embroidered circles on each side of the chest.
Dais made of black lacquered wood.
The two essential and most distinctive dolls of the Doll’s or Girl’s (Hina) Day (March 3) are a hieratic male and female figure. The word hina or hiina is similar to the word for “chick, baby bird” and is thought to have meant something like “little pretty thing” when it came into use both for chicks and for girls’ dolls.
The main dolls of such a set may be two-dimensional (folded paper tachibina or a picture of the dolls) or they may be a beautiful “Emperor and Empress” (the dairi-bina) attended by a varying number of other dolls: wise warriors, musicians, ladies serving sake, and other figures of aristocratic private life of the past, all arranged according to set patterns on the red steps of the tiered display (hina-dan). The Emperor (obina,tono or O-dairi-sama) and Empress (mebina,hime or O-hina-sama) sit at the top. Although these dolls represent the Emperor and Empress, they do not refer to the persons currently in those roles (with the exceptions of a very few pairs made in the Meiji era as portraits; see Alan Pate, “Japanese dolls and the Imperial image,” Doll News 2011, pp. 80–99), but rather to the idea of their roles in Japanese religion and culture.
Such royal dolls need gold screens (byobu) behind them, a pair of lanterns flanking them, and a vase or two of flowers. This is also where the talismans owned by the girl and connected to her fertility, would be displayed. Normally the male doll sits on the right, the seat of honour in the Kyoto palace; to seat him to the left is a reference to the more Westernized seating pattern of the Tokyo Imperial protocols (post-1870; see Shigeki Kawakami, “Ningyo: An Historical Approach,” in Avitabile, ed., Ningyo, p. 13).
The empress wears an elaborate phoenix crown (Fengguan) as in this doll or else a smaller tiara that came into use in the Meiji period, and carries an open fan. The fan itself is the symbol of prosperity as it spreads out when it is opened. As the fan starts from a single point and the wooden strips go out to various directions, they are considered to resemble the various paths leading us through life after the single point of birth. The colours and designs are also symbolic, with the red on this fan meaning luck. The emperor, in contrast, wears a hat (kanmuri) with a tall piece of stiffened fabric on the back, and a sword, sticking out behind. He holds a simple wooden paddle which serves as sceptre.
The empress’ phoenix crown is very symbolic. In Japan, the phoenix is identified as the Ho-ho (or ho-o) bird. As is common in East Asia, the phoenix is a sunbird and is associated with Amaterasu, the sun goddess. An image of a phoenix often accompanies representations of the goddess on top of the wooden cart or palanquin that carries the deity on processions about town from a shrine during a festival. The emperor of Japan is considered to be the descendent of Amaterasu, so it is only fitting that his consort wears a phoenix crown. One of the earliest phoenix crowns that has been excavated belonged to Empress Xiao of the Sui dynasty (6th—7th CE).
General description: This doll is in traditional dress (kroje) from the Plzen area, but it is not a very accurate representative (see below).
Dimensions 15.5 x 8 x 6 cm
Date when acquired 2016
Original Date Possibly 1970s (as shown on the Tres Bohemes site for a Lidová Tvorba doll)
Source Göttingen flea market
The label has the words “PLZEN 15 cm — Lux, Krojovaná lourka z PVC, LIDOVÁ TVORBA — UHERSKY BROD, CIK 747 291 624 218 CSVD Praha, 4/6/76/5013, KPN 20-4-83, MPC Kcs, Made in Czechoslovakia.
Plastic with movable arms and legs. Her features are painted on. Her hair is moulded into the plastic and is painted dark brown.
She is wearing a plain red knee-length linen skirt, pleated at the back and open like a kilt in the front. Under her skirt is a single white starched mesh petticoat (unlike the many petticoats usually worn by these women). It is also pleated at the back and open like a kilt at the front. It also has white lace trim around the hem. Over her skirt is a white lace apron.
On top, she is wearing a white linen blouse with puffed sleeves to just below the elbows. The cuffs are trimmed with white lace and the sleeves are tied at the elbow with red zig-zag braid. Around her neck is a white lace ruff.
Around her waist is a belt made of red braid embroidered with a pink and purple flower design with green leaves. The braid is knotted at the front and its long ends stick out to the sides. Over her shoulders and forming a V back and front are two red ribbons which are also held by the braid belt.
On her head is a white scarf drawn back to form a square shape. It has white lace trimming the front around the face and a large white lace bow sewn to the back.
She is not wearing any stocking but has black half boots painted on her feet.
The area for the Plzeňsko folk costume spanned around 30 villages (Ledce and Záluží in the north, Dějšina and the rather far-flung Ejpovice in the east, Plzenec and Outušice to the south, and Vejprnice and Křimice in the west). The influence of the folk costume also asserted itself strongly in Plzeň itself. Since its own area was not too extensive, the costume did not show any substantial deviations between the villages.
The distinctiveness of the Plzeňsko female folk costume primarily consists of its unusual width, which Plzeňsko women achieved with a number of underskirts that was uncommon anywhere else. If five or six underskirts were the maximum for another costume, this was only the beginning for the Plzeňsko costume, because a fashionable girl wanted 12 to 15 for her wedding or sometimes even as many as 24. Therefore it was no wonder when the woman lifted them up slightly in church to make them “lighter,” because carrying their weight demanded quite a lot of effort, even from a sturdy countrywoman. There was little embroidery on the Plzeňsko woman’s costume – just a little bonnet with “wings,” adapted from ribbons known as “kalunky,” and then thin kalunky for aprons (“fertoch”). For especially festive occasions, women also wore pleny, or cloths, and white embroidered fertoch aprons only occurred rather infrequently.
There was not much embroidery, but because of its beauty it can be counted among the most beautiful examples of folk needlework ever. The embellishments, which adorned the bodices and white woollen jackets, are relatively simple and less striking so they lag far behind the magnificent white embroideries. The chemise had white medium-size bulbous sleeves. These were sewn into a woven band at the elbow, which also bordered the neckline at the throat. A small silk scarf was placed across the breast. The endings of this scarf were tucked behind the bodice. Red stockings were worn on the legs along with carved shoes on thick high heels, which were tied at the vamp by a green ribbon. These were later replaced by tightened velvet boots (“bůtky”) with a glossy indented edge.
The male Plzeňsko costume is also restrained. The upper parts were tailored from good blue cloth, braided in red at the edges. All the parts had fastenings of shiny golden brass buttons. The light deerskin trousers were often adorned with stitched decorations. The boots were hard and high up to the knee or else soft turndown boots were worn.
For single and married men, an otter cap was the headgear for less festive occasions. The crown was usually red velvet and a golden string was sewn into a star six times across it, and fastened in the middle by a golden tassel. For a festive costume, men wore black stovepipe hats with a low surface and a somewhat indented crown, which had a black ribbon wrapped around it. The border was wider and also straight. Black silk ribbons were sewn along the sides from below and these were used for tying the hat under the chin.
This pair of dolls is from the Kyjov (Khaa) area in Bohemian (Czech) Switzerland.
Dimensions Man: 21.5 x 10 x 7 cm / Woman: 21 x 10. 5 x 8 cm
Date when acquired 2016
Original Date Unknown
Source Bought on Ebay Germany. Present from Gisela H.
Both dolls have plastic bodies with moveable arms and legs. The features are painted on and the hair is moulded in the plastic and painted light brown.
Man: He is wearing a suit made of red felt that consists of long tight trousers and a bolero-style jacket. The trousers are decorated at the front with large looped designs that extend on each side from the waistline to just above the knee. A line of purple chain stitch is sewn up the side of each leg and around the lower buttock region at the back. A silver belt is tied around the belt region and in a cross over the stomach with a loop going across the buttocks.
The bolero is embroidered with loops of yellow around the front and on the bottom of the jacket, with loops of green just above it and across the back. A decoration made of a loop of yellow ribbon and a loop of white braid embroidered with red and blue flowers with green leaves is attached to the inside of the right front of the bolero. The top of the loops reach the chin of the man and the long ends extend down to almost his knees.
He is wearing a white cotton shirt that is only tied at the neck. The long sleeves are wide at the wrists and hemmed with white lace. A collar of white lace is around his neck with the long ends dangling down to past the waist.
His knee-high boots are made of black plastic made to look like leather. They are soled with white felt.
On his head is a black rimless rounded felt hat, with two rows of narrow red zig-zag braid sewn around it with white thread. A white bow with a white flower is attached to the front of the hat.
Woman: She is wearing a short red skirt, pleated at the back and kilt-like at the front. It is hemmed with white lace. Above this is a white cotton blouse with a round neck and very puffed sleeves that have been padded with paper (it sounds like it). The puffed sleeves finish just below the elbow and are hemmed with black lace. There are red ties around the sleeves at the elbow.
Under the skirt is a stiffened open-meshed cotton underskirt. Again, it is pleated at the back and kilted at the front like the skirt. Her underpants are made of the same material.
Around the waist of the woman and running over each shoulder down to the waist as a V in both the front and back is red braid embroidered with pink roses and green leaves. The piece around the waist lies on top and is tied in a knot at the front with long pieces dangling down to the hem of the skirt. This belt also holds the pleated apron in place. The apron is made of stiffened black cotton hemmed with white lace. Above the lace is a broad band of dark blue braid embroidered with red flowers, red and green buds, and green leaves. Another layer of lace lies above the braid.
She is stockingless though she is wearing a pair of low black boots.
Over the blouse and red braid Vs is a white cotton bib that is square at the front and forms a V at the back. The bib is edged with white lace that is edged with black lace.
On her head is a large red cotton scarf tied on the back at the left. A band of white lace peeks out from under this at the front.
One day after blogging that I did not know where these dolls came from, I finally found similar dolls to these on the Tres Bohemes site whilst looking for the source of another Czech doll.
The dolls are dressed in the costume of the Kyjov (Khaa) area in Bohemian Switzerland. This region had been very sparsely populated since ancient times by a few Germanic, Slavic and Celtic tribes, but was finally colonised in the 12th century by German-speaking settlers. Until the end of the Second World War it was home to German Bohemians (later known as the Sudeten Germans). Since its German population was driven out after 1945, the area has been almost exclusively settled by Czechs. The German Bohemian/Sudeten traditional clothes are however different.