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40 years of active presence

Thursday, September 21, 2023


    On this level, costumes and accessories of the Jews of Greece are exhibited. During the Ottoman period, the costumes of the Jews of Greece reflect the rich interplay of cultures and traditions that characterised the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Ottoman costume was a complex mixture of Μedieval, Islamic and Byzantine dress that was made even richer through the influence of Mongol and Persian styles and affectations. By the middle of the 16th century, all these elements emerged as a distinct style of dress. It adapted to the needs and requirements of specific millets, ethno-religious communities, indicating the individual’s social position. The law dictated that it was forbidden for European dress to be worn by subjects of the Sultan. Romaniote and Sephardic Jews assumed a costume that for the most part, is a direct adaptation of contemporary Ottoman dress with a few distinguishing features in the way of colour, or its absence, minor peculiarities of cut and a varying headdress. From the 16th to the 19th century, the costume of Jewish men, which had to be suitable for public social intercourse, was conservative, undistinguished and modest. Women spent most of their lives indoors, running homes, maintaining families and, if wealthy, acquiring dresses and jewelry. Descriptions of this period speak of the richness and exotic character of their costumes.


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