Mirdita (Albania) traditional dress

Specific Techniques and processes used in the elaboration of the main dress chosen, description of the techniques of the different parts of the dress and the importance of preserving this craft and Ttxtile treatment in the Region

The development and variety of folk costumes and accessories is closely related to the processing of raw materials and is favored by the richness and variety of raw materials of natural fibers of plant origin where we have a variety of plants and livestock development for animal fibers. Textile weaving is one of the oldest crafts and is a known process from the earliest stages of human development. Materials – mainly hemp, linen, wool, silk, and cotton were found locally. Silk was les used as it was pretty scarce. It was produced by the silkworm grown in white berries trees which were popular in all Albanian territories.

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Craftsmanship, such as embroidery and metalworking, developed later than textile production in the region.

Techniques for the production of fabrics are weaving, knitting, crochet and distillation of woolen textiles. An important place is played by wool processing as the main material in the home industry, especially in mountainous areas. Making woolen textiles is one of the oldest technologies in our country. Of special importance was the processing of wool fibers and the production of woolen and non-woven textiles (shajaku). Wool was processed in drstila, in valanica (water mill that serves to break the shajak, zhgunat). • The shajak is directed by beating or hitting it with wooden hammers, which are set in motion by the force of water. Shajaku was widely used in all Albanian territories. The dyeing was done at home, the natural colors of the wool (white, black, beige and brown) prevailed. For dyeing wool yarns, long wool of adult sheep was preferred, as it was dyed better due to the fat content. Wool before dyeing goes through the preparatory processes for removing impurities. White vinegar, wild apple juice, cow urine (acid-based), fermented cabbage juice (with salt content), sea salt, etc. have initially served as filament dyes with natural dyes. Iron and copper sulfide were later widely used for wool dying. In the preparation of the solution of some colors, sugar was also used to sweeten the color. The dyeing process was carried out for days and has affected the preservation of the freshness of the colors.

Traditional embroidery, metalworking techniques such as: carving, beating, filigree techniques were used for the production of accessories.

Folk costumes are the result of a long process of change influenced by several factors: historical, economic, socio-cultural and technological developments. They have an important role in revealing values and expressing the identity of culture and history. The earliest elements of the Mirdita costume are the long shirts for men and women and the dolmens; an open coat with decorative hanging sleeves, allowing practicality and freedom of hands in everyday life. The traditional costumes of Mirdita, preserve the elements inherited over the centuries for the best. Their preparation and work techniques were taught from an early age and is inherited from generation to generation. The ethnography that has survived to these days still carries elements of the dress of the Albanian territories from the century. XIV-XV.

Mirdita costumes are among the few clothing with pure Albanian elements, without Ottoman and Slavic influences, compared to other costume areas that changed religion from Christianity to Islam. It remains among the most beautiful and expressive folk costumes.

The door (family) where the woman who dresses the costume comes from, affects the complexity and loading with decorative elements. The bridal costume consists of the Shirt, cap, jacket, jewelry, shoes, socks, skirt etc. Special attention is paid to the treatment of the chest covering with ornaments.

Unlike other peoples of the Balkans, in Albania, the girl who had reached the age of marriage, had to dress simply and without jewelry, cover her hair well with a handkerchief and not wear red clothes. The wedding dress was the richest variant of the dress of the province, both for brides and grooms. For brides, metal ornaments were unavoidable, even, used even more, because here, apparently, was important not only their aesthetic function, but also the magical function that was attributed to them. For brides, the decoration of the head was of special importance. A few years after the wedding, the dress began to be lightened by embellishments. Bright colors are and many accessories are characteristic for this case.

Nowadays, folk costumes and accessories are used only for festive occasions and during various cultural performances.

Description of the history behind the garments of the dress.

Decorative motifs have various compositional forms, mainly of a religious character and this is dedicated to the resistance, the preservation of the Catholic religion for generations. Other motives are also the alternation of bands and scars placed in a vertical line. The decoration of the Jupa or Llahenga / Gjeheng present early elements of the symbolism of Christianity. Crosses, black vertical lines that give elegance, geometric motifs, three-leaf flowers, rhombuses, appear in most visible part of the body. Part of the decorations are human or eagle shapes like a worshiped mountain bird and national emblems. The eagle appears in all forms of folklore creation; texts, dance, clothing, architectural decoration etc.

Mirdita – Socks

Mirdita – Socks

Name: Socks Description: White cotton knitted with 5 knitting pins. Floral motives are repeated and combined with geometric symbols. Tufted over the node leg. Material/period/technique: 1900. Cotton. Techniques: knitted with white cotton and colored threads (cotton) -...

Mirdita – Pantaletes (Pants)

Mirdita – Pantaletes (Pants)

Name: Pantaletes Description: White cotton fabric pantalettes where six pieces are stitched together to create the silhouette. Embroidered at the end in white color with relief. Material/period/technique: 1900. Cotton. Techniques: plain weave, gathering in the waist,...

Mirdita – Apron

Mirdita – Apron

Name: Half Apron Description: The Half apron is a beautification piece of cloth fully embraided with all colors used in the entire costume. The motives are geometric symbols repeated in geometric order starting from the center. It has fringes on the lower hem. It is...

Mirdita – Belt

Mirdita – Belt

Name: Belt Description: An ornamental element of well combined colors starting from orange; yellow, white and blue and the widest color of orange/rust. The belt has two threads that go around the body to make a knot on the left side. The belt has around 21 fringes of...

Mirdita – Head

Mirdita – Head

Name: Head Cover Description: Woolen fez in two layers covered in front with rust-colored silk and a scarf behind. The front of the cap has 3 rows of gold coins which number depends on the wealth of the family. The scarf behind is floral with very bright colors that...

Mirdita – Sleeveles coat

Mirdita – Sleeveles coat

Name: Sleeveless coat Description: White felt with 9 elements (parts) stitched and camouflaged with purl. The applique embroidery demonstrates patriotic symbolism (religious and pagan) in dominant red color, rust, blue, green, and yellow. The front remains open to...

Mirdita – Shirt

Mirdita – Shirt

Name: Shirt Description: The shirt, like many "popular" shirts, is made of canvas, that is, in taffeta of homemade linen. The neckline is boxed, with the gathered line and a bust opening in the center of the front that can be closed with a group of various colors'...

Mirdita – Jacket

Mirdita – Jacket

Name: Jacket Description: Short Jacket in blue turquoise veloured, embroidered at the border with gold. No visible collar. The neckline is boxed with no buttons. Long Sleeves with gold trim. Sleeves are long to the half of the palm in order to make the arm look longer...

Mirdita – Skirt

Mirdita – Skirt

Name: Skirt Description: The skirt is white cotton cloth with fillister with three rows of embroideries in relief. The embroidery creates the silhouette at the belt. Material/period/technique: 1900, plain weave, bobbins, gathering, needle embroidery canvas of 6...