The history behind national costumes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Villagers in national costumes from the Travnik area in Bosnia (1920-s).
Villagers in national costumes from the Travnik area in Bosnia (1920-s).

The curiosity about the national costumes and ethnic elements in style of wardrobe is our topic for today. By taking a look at the tradition and ethnic elements in the wardrobe, we are continuously learning about the past.

On the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we find a number of different costumes. All the costumes were formed over many years and carry within themselves elements or only trace elements of many cultural influences that have influenced the development of not only the costumes but also in historical and social events. Therefore, in our costumes we find traces of Balkan, Mediterranean and oriental culture. These cultural influences have left their mark on the folk costumes and undoubtedly contributed to their differentiation.

From the start we can make a distinction based on what clothing a Muslims could wear and what a non-Muslim could wear. The Quran and the traditions form the basis for this differentiation. This was also the case in the whole area under Ottoman Empire.

The main differentiation and style can be seen depending if people lived in the country or in the city.

The wardrobe in people from the country had important differences, for example in the way they dress depended upon certain large geographical area, so that there are three geographic regions: Western Herzegovina, Central and Eastern Bosnia and Posavina. This led to the division of national costumes of the rural population into three main groups, or three types of rural folk costumes: the dinar costumes (costumes of western Bosnia and Herzegovina), middle costumes including Eastern Bosnia and the third type Posavina costume. The variants of costumes of different ethnic groups are manifested in the small details of the case, the colors or the way of wearing, but the base was the same.

The style of the wardrobe in the city also depended regardless of their so by the end 19th century, we can observe a strong oriental influence, as in the cuts and the choice of materials. The materials are mainly imported from the east, and also from the West, mainly from Venice.

They mostly used the following materials scratches, velvet, various kinds of silk and brocade, as well as cotton.

Today we can find the mentions and descriptions of these costumes in the old epic poems, ballads, romances from that era as well as in the traditional songs. We can read on different elements of the costumes of the time, their name, function and materials.

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