July 18, 2014

1150 MONTENEGRO (Kotor) - A couple in traditional costumes

Slavs (including Croats and Serbs) have lived in the area of Montenegro since the 6th and 7th centuries in the medieval principalities of Doclea and Zeta, and the area got its present name (Montenegrin: Crna Gora, which means Black Mountain) during the rule of the Crnojević dynasty. It was part of medieval Serbia during 13th century and first half of the 14th century, but Ottoman conquest of the Balkans resulted in separation from Serbia and re-emergence of Zeta. In the 19th century national romanticism among the South Slavs fueled the desire for re-unification. Regarding the linguistic and ethnic identity of Montenegrins, there is an ongoing controversy, some supporting the ideea that they aren't a distinct group, but only a subgroup of Serbian people. Whatever the truth, the many similarities between Serbs and Montenegrins not be questioned. The Bay of Kotor, known also as Boka, is a winding bay of the Adriatic Sea, in fact a ria of the disintegrated Bokelj River which used to run from the high mountain plateaus of Orjen. The inhabitants of Boka and adjacent regions are the Bokelj or Bokez people, who are an ethnic South Slavic community, many of whom nationally identify as being Montenegrin, Serb or Croat, or others. Most are Eastern Orthodox, while some are Roman Catholics.

Costume has always been an important segment in the life of Montenegrins. It has always been expensive, but people have always tended to have it even in the most difficult times, at least for the most important moments in their lives. A very distinctive garments for men are the knee socks, which strongly tighten the calves. For making of these socks a great skill is needed, and what needs to be pointed out is that no matter the experience and years for putting on of the knee socks it takes a lot of time. Men also wear the so called Bjecve which had a slit on the side, and their rims were hemmed with red or dark blue coarse cloth. Pants, made of coarse linen and water proof cloth (Coja), are dresses immediately after the knee socks and they should overlap one part of the knee socks. Very often pants and knee socks are tied with a cord. Pants near the waist are wide, while below the knees they are shrunk.

Male shirt, most often white, has a collar and a slit on the chest which is closed with buttons. Except the shirt male folk costume, its upper part was made of Gunj (long peasant jacket), which had short tassels which on the chest are moved apart. Gunj was replaced with Dolama (Dolman), which has the sleeves below the armpits and up to the fist they are almost opened, so that they can be thrown back. In that way the hand stays solely in the shirt. The ends of the Dolman (sleeves and the corners and tassels) are decorated with dark red color. Below Gunj they wore Dzemadan, which was made of red coarse linen and was usually embroidered with on sides with some cotton or silk braids of black or golden color. That is a vest with tassels which came one over the others, and it was buttoned with four buttons (made of metal) and with black knots made of silk rope. The rims of Dzemadan on tassels are also decorated with knots or with golden embroidery. Over Gunj went Jelek (sleeveless embroidered jacket), made of the coarse material and decorated with rope or with golden embroidery. That is an upper clothing item, a lot like a coat without the sleeves. In front it is very open, and what is characteristic for it is that it was never buttoned.

Some researchers who dealt with Montenegrin folk costume divide it in citizen and traditional one. That division is usually based in the difference in dressing of orthodox women and women who lived usually on the coast - women of catholic confession. Traditional costume of women in these areas usually was made of: shirt, woolen dress, skirt (made of flax and of hemp; festive skirts were made of silk and damask, decorated with lace or golden embroidery), apron (made of tela and indijana; for festive occasions decorated with silk and golden embroidery), belt (Jakicar - a hard leather belt, Cemer - an easier belt decorated with silver filigrees and stones), kerchief and socks, and as alternative clothing items they used Kamizola (certain kind of a vest), Jecerma (a kind of a short vest), Koret (short coat usually brown), Zubun (sleeveless garment), Curdija (type of jacket-short sleeved or sleeveless), and Caftan. As for the footwear most often they had Opanak (peasant shoes), pasamage, and sometimes even shoes. Bran is a wide female dress. It was worn over the shirt, and it is made of an upper and lower part - from Stan and of skirt. Stan was tight and close to body, while the lower part was made of 5 folds. The length of Bran went all the way to the feet.

About the stamps

The stamps are part of the series Saint Tripun in Kotor - 1200 years, issued on February 3, 2009. The series is a joint issue Montenegro-Croatia, actually an identical pair of stamps, dedicated to Saint Tripun (Saint Tryphon), the patron saint of Kotor: A. a portrait of St Tripun (1616); B. central altar piece showing St Tripun, cathedral in Kotor (1440).

Montenegro - Wikipedia
Bay of Kotor - Wikipedia
Montenegro - Folk Costume - Visit Montenegro
The Montenegrin National Famale Garments - Destination Montenegro

Sender: Monica Nicolau
sent from Kotor (Kotor / Montenegro), on 28.06.2014

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