- Museum number
A woman's apron; rectangular in shape and made from orange, red and green chequered tabby woven wool fabric; hand woven. The warp ends (top and hem) are turned and machine stitched. The ties are commercially made synthetic braiding. Some weaving errors, notably far left green stripe.
- Production date
Length: 86 centimetres (excluding ties)
Width: 63 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is likely to be the apron given to Mercia MacDermott by the curator of the Ethnographic Museum in Raikovo, Smolyan, south Bulgaria, in the Rhodope mountains. MacDermott travelled there with the Bulgarian author Anton Donchev in the mid-1960s. In her memoir, 'Once upon a time in Bulgaria' (Manifesto Press 2016, p. 226) MacDermott writes, 'In the course of very detailed research, Anton had made many friends in the area, among them the curator of the Ethnographic Museum in Raikovo, a former village already part of Smolyan. The museum building itself was a beautiful old house, with a vine just outside the entrance, and when Anton suggested tothe curaotr that she should pick some ofthe leaves, stuff them and serve them to us for supper in the museum after it had closed, she readily agreed ! That was indeed a magical evening ! Seated among priceless examples of Rhodope folk-craft, we duly ate stuffed vine leaves and drank wine, and, the curator presented me with a handwoven apron of green and orange tartan which exactly matched the colour of the reeds that fringed the clear water of one of the three lakes we had just visited.' MacDermott also records the regular use of bagpipes, writing, 'where bagpipes flourish, so also do tartans. Traditionally the women of the Smolyan district in the Rhodope did not embroider their aprons, but wove them, tartan-style, in fiery shades of red and yellow, fresh larch-green and orange, and other colours inspired by the local landscape.' (ibid, p. 225).
The information that this apron come from the Rhodope Mountains kindly supplied by Lari-anne Milosavljezic (collection database feedback, 21 Jan 2016).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Given to donor by curator of Ethnographic Museum, Raikovo, in mid-1960s (see curator's comment). The items in this collection (Eu1995,03.1 to 90) were primarily collected during periods of residence by the donor in Bulgaria between 1963 and 1989.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number