Sunday, December 13, 2015

Featured Garment: A 1330s Genovese Cioppa

This week, we are going back to the Second Quarter of the 14th Century, in North-West Italy, where a somewhat unusual garment caught my eye.  Any guesses as to which?

That's right...the red one.  My focus will be on that garment, along with (theoretically) what was being worn under it.  It is a possibility that I may talk about the other clothing in the illumination as well.

I will be discussing the clothing in the page above, Egerton 3781 f.1.  This is a leaf from a treatise on the Seven Vices, by Cocharelli, and was created between 1330 and 1340, in Genoa--at the beginning of the Italian Renaissance.  It's quite strange--I seem to be having issues finding resources on clothing from this period--everything seems to be later in the Italian Renaissance.  Somehow I suspect that this is going to end up longer than I expected...for simplicity, I will be taking the clothing terms from This Article on 15th century North Italian clothing

First off--absolutely fascinating.  He is wearing a bright red gown--a Cioppa--that is fitted in the shoulders and upper chest, then begins to flare out.  It is held close to the waist by his belt, and appears to be open all the way down (buttoning to the waist).  The interesting facets of it are, of course the high collar, and the trim.  The other man is wearing a similar garment, in a gold brocade.

Underneath, you can see either red dyed boots, or soled calze (hosen).  Another possibility is that he is wearing low shoes, and they are cut off in the image (which is probably the most likely option).  At this time, the calze would not be joined at the top, but be pointed either to an underbelt or a doublet like undergarment.

The trim of the man's cioppa seams to follow the seams; the shoulders, around the armscye, top and bottom of the collar, and--of course--the front opening and cuffs.  Interestingly, the trim down the front opening only seems to go to somewhere around the lower knee.  I believe that the fabric used for the trim is quite possibly the same cloth of gold as the man behind him--the only evidence, of course is what I can see.

For the main body of the garment, there are a couple of choices--it could be, and likely is (based on social stature) a finely woven wool....or it could be a blend--either of linen/cotton (fustian), or cotton/wool [Massaoui].  However, looking even more closely at his garment, I am half wondering whether it is parti-colour, with the left side in the cloth of gold.  It could just be the angle and artist, but it looks like the small section we see of the left side (sleeve) contains no red.
I would probably use a set of narrow trapezoidal pieces of fabric, much like the G63, to get the silhouette and drape.

I would assume, that underneath the garment he is probably wearing a camicia and brache of white linen.  In all likelihood, these were rectangular construction.

I honestly don't know enough about the topic of 1330s North Italian clothing to even start on this.  I would--tentatively--guess that they are wearing the local variation of a kirtle (cotta or gamurra. Cotta being the summer weight version), underneath a zimarra, with the odd silhouette of the lady in gold being cause by her pregnancy(?).  All the terms are found in later clothing.


British Library. Egerton 3781, f.1. [] (Accessed 11-28-15)  NOTE: This is the image source--the closeups were cropped by me.

Mazzaoui, Maureen Fennell. The North Italian Cotton Industry 1200-1800.  [] (Accessed 11-28-15)

Renaissance Dress Glossary. [] (Accessed 11-28-15)

1420-1480 Men's Italian Renaissance Clothing. [] (Accessed 11-28-15)

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.  Photographs of my work may not be duplicated.

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