British Museum collections, £12.99
Length: 88.000 cm
Width: 75.000 cm
Gift of the Committee for Cultural Relations
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Woman's sleeveless coat
From Komarevo village, central northern Bulgaria, late 19th century AD
From a festive costume
This coat (klashnik) is part of a particular style of costume, featuring two aprons, which was popular in the grain growing areas of northern Bulgaria. It is well adapted for working in the fields. The festive costume features a long sleeved chemise, puckered at the neck, gathered at the wrists and richly embroidered. It is accompanied by a kilt-like pleated apron worn at the back and a flat apron at the front and a simple woven belt. This fine coat and a head-dress decorated with coins, tassels and artificial flowers completes the outfit. The coat is embroidered with silk and wool and features linear ornaments such as pitchers and floral patterns.
As an over-garment the klashnik was worn mainly by young women on their wedding day. The women were obliged to wear it for a certain period of their married life before it was removed ceremonially on a fixed day.
E. Kwasnik, Bulgaria: tradition and beauty (National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, 1989)
V.Kovacheva-Kostadinova and others (eds.), Traditional Bulgarian costume (Sofia, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences National Museum of Ethnography, 1994)