Beaded Cap

Serbian, second half of the 19th century

Felt cloth, seed pearls; embroidery

R 15 cm

MAA inv. no. 950 and 1888

The 19th century saw the emergence in Serbia of something called Serbian townwear. It grew out of both Oriental and European fashion but was combined with the traditional mode of dress. A typical and mandatory item of this costume was women's headwear – the so-called "tepeluk" or beaded cap, encircled by a jewelled border called a "bareš".

The cap was usually made of felt, red felt, as in this example. It was often richly embellished with rows of seed pearls circling into peaks, the central peak being the biggest. The embroidery consists of stringing the pearls together. The cap is encircled by a "bareš", a narrow strip of material, also richly embroidered with pearls.

A cap and "bareš" of this type were usually worn by wealthy women from the Serbian middle class, which was then emerging. This kind of headgear also dictated the wearing of expensive jewellery as a symbol of social status.