While searching for old prints on the digital gallery of the New York Public Library, I came across this lovely print dated between 1876 and 1888 of Portuguese jewelry and depicting a traditional Minho costume.
Next month there will be the festivaties in Viana and once again, many discussions will come around on the essence of traditional costumes, on how to properly tie a head scarf, on which side of the skirt a girl must place her pouch, on which aprons are truly authentic and based on original drawings. I always found this type of arguments very partial considering that most of them are based on uncertain oral traditions and institutional figures that have dictated for many years what is and isn't correct. I prefer to consider that costumes accompany the social and aesthetic changes of those who bare them. Nowadays they are in fact costumes of pure vanity and spectacle whether we like it or not.
What I truly find disappointing is the lack of high quality fibers and pigments to weave shirts, aprons and shirts. In a city like Viana, where many people still embroid and weave it’s a pity there is so little investment on raw materials. However, an interesting recreated memory of how to traditionally transform linen into fine threads can still be found today in the Linhal da Corredoura, that I visited some years back. Its takes place once a year and the threads produced will be weaved into shirts and other pieces of clothing.