Bulgarian costume, bridal headdress (kaitsa)

early 1900s

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

A woman's head-dress, or 'kaitsa'. The top section is made of two pieces of cream-coloured tabby woven cotton fabric shaped like a wide crescent with a separate additional flap at the front. Stiff cardboard is sandwiched between the two layers to support the weight of rows of Turkish coins of five different sizes. There are three rows of orange plastic beads threaded together and couched and a further two lines of black beads, secured in the same manner. Tassels made from black plastic beads fall either side of the face. Small bunches of coloured woollen yarn, mainly red, have been stitched onto the perimeter of the head-dress. Two pink paper flowers are attached at the front sides. The head-dress is secured under the chin with a cotton strap covered in overlapping same-sized coins. A large piece of commercially woven cream-coloured silk [full weaving width] is attached to the head-dress to cover the hair.

Text from Eth Doc 1836 (entry 6): Head scarf - 'kaitsa'. The white head scarf is a very important part of the costume of the young married woman. It is by the white head scarf that we distinguish between married and single women. The latter wear no head scarf. In this case the white scarf is combined with a semicircular pad which is worn under it, slightly tilted backwards and attached to a small cap. At the front it is decorated with coins. The value of the latter varies with the material status of the woman. In the first row are the largest and most valuable coins, then come the smaller and cheaper ones. The folded corner of the scarf is attached to the edge of the semi-circular pad. Tassels of differently coloured yarn are arranged along the edge and artificial flowers on the sides.
Part of a woman's two-apron festive attire from the village of Komarevo, Pleven district, central north Bulgaria. End of the C19th.

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  • Title: Bulgarian costume, bridal headdress (kaitsa)
  • Date Created: early 1900s
  • Location Created: Pleven, north Bulgaria
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 100.5 centimetres Width: 112 centimetres
  • Provenance: Given by the Bulgarian Government
  • Copyright: © The Trustees of The British Museum
  • British Museum link: Eu1971,01.11