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Proudly worn over the 'kontusz' or the long outer robe, the so-called 'kontusz belt' – a decorative cloth belt measuring some four metres (up to 15 feet) in length and 40 cm (15 inches) in width – was one of the most picturesque and characteristic accessories in the Polish national costume. As late as the early 18th century, kontusz belts were still imported from Persia and Turkey, but in the 1740s the first Polish belt-making workshops began to appear. Their beautiful products, modelled on Eastern originals, were to reach a high level of artistry. The belts were made in a number of workshops, including Lipków, Kobyłka and Słuck. The name of the Słuck belt-making workshop eventually lent its name to all types of the kontusz belt, which are often referred to generically as pas słucki or 'the Słuck belt'. The belts were woven of silk combined with gold and silver thread. The two sides of the belt were differently coloured, and the strip was frequently divided into two halves of different patterns. By means of some ingenious folding, the same belt could be worn in four different combinations to suit different occasions and clothes.

Details

  • Title: Kontusz belt
  • Date Created: 1787 - 1792
  • Location Created: Kobyłka, Mazovia (Poland)
  • Weaver: Szczepan Filsjean
  • Technique: weaving
  • Place Part Of: Mazovia (Poland)
  • Physical Dimensions: w4120 x h390 mm
  • Original Title: Pas kontuszowy
  • Description: Signature of the author: 'S Filsjean Kobyłki'.
  • Type: Decorative arts
  • Rights: Wilanów Palace Museum, Photo: Z. Reszka

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