Clothing for Spain in the 13th c.
The first thing you may want to do is decide which culture
you will want to emulate. In medieval Spain, three main cultures lived
side by side: Moslems, Christians, and Jews.
For this event, a simple robe will be adequate; i.e., simply a long
t-tunic. Wear two, one over the other, for warmth or looks, or simply
wear it over your normal tunic. A cotehardie is also acceptable for
both men and women, and over this you may wear a surcoate. If you are
male, you may wear a turban, coif, hat (refer to the illuminations of
the Cantigas de Santa Maria or Book of Games, below), hood, or leave
your head bare. If you are female, you may wear a coif, veil, headband
(the kind that goes across the forehead), or leave your head bare; small
flowers such as orange blossoms or jasmine may be woven into the hair--that
would be lovely. Braid your hair into a single braid if you have long
hair. For women, jewellery would include dangling earrings, large metal
bracelets, and small necklaces; hands and feet may be stained with henna.
Sandalwood, musk, frankincense, and other fragrant oils as well as rosewater
may be used to perfume yourselves.
A note on Jewish clothing: There is no "Jewish clothing style" per
se. What you wear will depend on the dominant culture from whence you
hail; if you are from Christian Spain, see the information on Christian
clothing. If you are from Moslem Spain, see the information on Islamic
clothing. If you are male, what you may add to this is a tallit (a four-cornered
garment with the prescribed fringes on each corner) in the form of either
a tabard or a large rectangular wrap worn like a toga. You may cover
your head or not as you wish; but avoid using the modern kippah (skullcap;
yarmulke) and instead wear a turban, cofia (coif), or shawl.
What not to wear; or, Popular Costuming Myths
- Any clothing article inspired by "I Dream of Jeannie"
- Poofy pants gathered at the ankles ("Harem pants")>
- Polyester, unless it looks like silk
- Poofy sleeve
- "Ghawazee"-type clothing articles. Much later than our target era.
- Any type of bellydancing article
- A modern khefiyya (Near Eastern headscarf)
Any good medieval color is acceptable. For this wedding feast,
however, lucky colors are red and yellow.
Rather than putting a wide range of pictures here, I have included
several on-line resources to go to for inspiration.
- Dar Anahita
Anahita Gauri al-Fassi has a site full of information on the medieval
Near Eastern textile arts. Especially fascinating for her discussion
of medieval Islamic knitting. Please do peruse the entire site, not
just the clothing area.
- The Cantigas de Santa Maria
These 13th c. manuscripts contain over 400 songs to and about the Virgin
Mary. Look through the illuminations for Christian, Moslem, and Jewish
clothing of the period. A good overview is displayed by clicking on
the link "Illuminations" and then on the link which says "All color
images in-line as small images." At the bottom of this page, look at
the pictures of Moslem chess players from the Book of Games. It takes
a while to load if you don’t have quick access, but it’s better than
going through all of them one by one.
- The Book of Games
This 13th c. manuscript contains the instructions for a wealth of board
games. Look through the illuminations for Christian, Moslem, and Jewish
- Chaiya’s Sephardic World
This on-line Jerusalem for things medievally Sephardic contains a section
- Notes on Islamic Clothing
By Duke Cariadoc. Links to images are missing.
- How to Tie a Turban (PDF)
- Some Clothing of the Middle Ages
Based on archaeological finds. Only a few are from Spain, but you may
use any style you find depicted in the above sources, such as the Cantigas
or Book of Games.
- The Tunic of St. Louis
This is a nice and easy tunic one may use to recreate the styles seen
in the Cantigas.
- 10th-12th c. Egyptian shirt
The Basics of Byzantine Dress, ca. 1000 AD
A few centuries too early for our period, but a good resource nonetheless.