Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to roam around and learn a bit more about Portuguese History. To find your interests, please, have a look at the right side of the page, where you can find all the posts arrenged into labels, such as "Society", "Politics", etc. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

BARRETINA SALOIA- peasant's cap

In my research about clothing worn in Portugal early 19th century by common people I came across this funny cap/hat worn, it seems, only by women.
Portuguese peasants; by James Murphy in "Travels in Portugal", 1797.

I couldn't explain it and even less so after I've done a tour on the production of olive oil here in Oeiras, where I live, in the 18th century, where there was a lady in period costuming with a similar cap and she couldn't explain what it was or where or why...
18th century Portuguese peasant impression; explaining how olive oil was made, Oeiras, 2011; picture taken by me.

So the questions remained: Why the shape, was the tip of the hood to ease the weight of things carried ion the top of the head, where did it came from, was it a regional item, and so on, and so on, you get the picture. As all things according to my personal beliefs, sooner or later I would come across an answer. And I did!
Last Friday I wanted to do a quick research on knitted caps, hoods or hats that I could use in my early 19th century impression, and what did I saw googling images on the net??? TADA! That type of cap I saw on period images before!
It's called, as you can see on the title of this post, a peasant's cap, only worn by women and yes, it was a regional item. Worn mostly in the region around the river Tagus, so, from Lisbon to Sintra, including Oeiras, up North to Torres Vedras, in fact in all of the Beiras regions. It originated, most likely, from the so called Phrygian cap, somewhere around the 12th century before Christ, in what is known today as Turkey. This type of cap (pileus) was also worn by emancipated slaves in the Roman Empire and this is the part of historical info I wanted.
Pilos worn by man, painted on a greek dish, 4th century BC, Louvre Museum.

It seems that this conical shape of a felted hat became, since the classics, a symbol of emancipation/liberty and also a symbol of the working classes in so many periods, from the French Revolution to the emancipation of South American countries. Even worn on Britania at the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1807(!).
AHA! So that's the link that I was looking for. The reason why, so many centuries later, in Portugal, it was used by peasant women (I believe); it was a people's clothing item. Since it was a workers thing, most of the period images would be drawn with the woman wearing the cap, next to a donkey. Because that was the means of transportation of the time for working people and those who had heavy loads to carry: carrying olives to the olive oil press, carrying clothing to be washed in the river, etc.
The Portuguese cap, also conical in shape, had a fold sewn at the bottom, which gave it a unique flair. It disappeared as soon as the industrial revolution became part of daily life in Portugal at the end of the 19th century.
On the pictures below, you can see a few more examples of the barretina saloia, that I took from a helpfull blog post (http://cintraseupovo.blogspot.pt/2011/01/barretinas-saloias.html)
I have to excuse myself, though, that the images don't have bibliographical references. I will correct that as soon as possible.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


From time to time I do a quick on-line research on small questions that I need a quick fix to. And so therefore, I'll be posting them too, just in case someone out there is interested.
Lately, one of those questions was about the use of flannel during the Regency fashion. Specially in underwear and in Winter time. I already had found info on that matter in regard of a pink petticoat in that book I've mentioned in a previous post on fashion (Trajo popular em Portugal nos séculos XVIII e XIX” in the post of November 2011). What I needed to find out now was about shifts/chemises, since there's a chance that I'll be doing a winter re-enactment event and I need proper clothing. You can read the links of the pages yourselves, I'll just be posting the answers to my questions. And here's what I found:

Sea bathing in York in 1814.

1st, that there were 2 types of flannel, one with a simple weave and one in twill and the most common type of flannel was the woolen one. For those of you who don't know the difference, a simple weave is actually what it means – simply woven and for that look at a piece of cotton or linen cloth – and twill is the same as you have on your jeans. The main difference between those 2 is that the twill weave makes the fabric resistant then the simple weave.

2nd, that in the 18th to early 19th century, flannel was used more for underwear (exactly what I was looking for!). Plaided shirts came later. In fact in the 18th century a flannel petticoat was called a “dicky”. I found a reference that in Jane Austen's “Sense and sensibility” flannel is mentioned but I couldn't find it out myself. Now, all I needed to know was if the shifts women wore were made out of flannel too.

Last but not least, long flannel shifts were used by women during the Regency period to cover themselves when they went “swimming” at the beach, although bathing naked was also acceptable. But I intend to cover myself when it's cold outside, not go skinny-dipping in Winter! I need shifts!

And so, my dear friends, ends my quick research and posting that indirectly answered my quastions about underwer for colder days. Hope it can be as usefull for you as it has been for me.