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Coat (ködmön)
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The earliest garments for herdsmen on the Alföld (central plain of Hungary) consisted of two sheepskins: one for the back of the body and one for the front. The age-old practice of using hides to keep warm was common all over the great Steppes of Russia and Central Asia, of which the Alföld forms the western edge.

Where was this textile created?

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Coat (ködmön)
Europe: Central Europe, Hungary
Wool and sheep skin, appliquéd and embroidered
122 cm x 155 cm
Gift of Kalman Czeglédy
T93.0011 Textile Museum of Canada

The celebrated Hungarian art of cutting and embellishing sheepskin coats is illustrated by this woman’s coat which was made in 1903 for the donor's grandmother Mrs. Jusztina Fejes Czeglédy (1877-1955). The furrier shaped it through the waist and decorated it with chamois strips, which have been cut paper-doll-style to create a lace-like effect. The use of bright red Moroccan leather points to a Turkish influence, although the embroidered roses, carnations and forget-me-nots are worked in the European style of the late 19th century.

This coat is a primer in the historical migrations of people in eastern Europe. In its graceful design, we see marks of the herdsmen of the Steppes, the Ottoman occupation of the Mediterranean regions and central Europe, and the influences of western European culture.

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