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Cap The distinction between a cap, a bonnet and a hat is sometimes blurred. In general, a bonnet is usually tied by a ribbon bow under the chin and has no brim at the back, a cap fits closely to the head, often without any brim, and is made of a soft material, while a hat, though varied in shape, with brim or without, is usually a grander head-covering of richer and stiffer fabric (see Hats). More primitive cultures tended to wear caps rather than hats; caps were easier to make and fit. in cold climates and mountain areas the cap of fur the common and necessary head-covering; examples are numerous from the Eskimo, the Cossack, the Hungarian, the Chinese and Mongolian, the Indian sub-continent - Pakistan, Kashmir, Tibet and Nepal - to the frontiersman of North America. A round, fitting cap was worn, in different forms, by all the ancient civilizations. The Greek pilos was typical and almost identical was the Roman (and Etruscan) pileus, both usually made of felt. Similar caps were worn in the early centuries AD throughout Europe, as can be seen in Gallic, Merovingian and Carolingian dress. A variant was the Phrygian cap, which originated in Anatolia but was to be seen over a wide area from very early times till the Middle Ages. It is a generalized term which was used to apply to a cap which came to a point in front, a point which was then allowed to fall forwards from the top. Caps of this type can be seen in ancient Persian, Etruscan, Scythian and Byzantine dress, among others, as well as being commonplace in Europe in the Middle Ages. The conical cap was also widely used by ancient cultures. This can be traced, for example, in sculpture and paintings of Persian, Hittite, Assyrian, Minoan, and some classical dress; its use also extended till the Middle Ages. The skull cap was widely used in medieval times from the twelfth until the fifteenth century and it has continued to be worn in later periods as a nightcap or smoking cap, also in ecclesiastical dress. A skull cap is small and round, closely fitting the top of the head and with no brim or peak, although it can have a short tail. Also known as a calotte, it was often worn under another cap or hat. A version of the skull cap known as a zucchetto was adopted by the Church as a round cap to cover the tonsure. Another variant of the skull cap was the biretta which, by the fifteenth century, developed into a stiffened, square shape with three or four raised ridges on the crown radiating from the centre, which could be marked by a tail, pompon or tassel. It was worn by the clergy and also the lay acadernicians of the universities (see Academical dress). Small jewelled and embroidered caps have been worn in many ages by women to decorate and contain their plaited or coiled long hair. Made of varied materials, but often in velvet, muslin, lace, silk or lawn, these were frequently richly ornamented with pearls, jewels, gold and silver thread as well as coloured silks, and could be accompanied by a veil. They were especially fashionable in the later Middle Ages and the early Renaissance in Italy, while pill- box designs, perched on the back of the head, were characteristic of the later six- teenth century in central and western Europe. Modern versions of both styles can be seen in the evening juliet cap and the out-door pill-box hat. The stocking cap - the knitted woollen cap with turned-up brim and a long end hanging down the back, sometimes ending in a tassel - has been used as a working- man's head-covering by many peoples in different ages. it has traditionally been associated with the sea, worn especially by sailors and fishermen, particularly round the Mediterranean as in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The medieval cap worn by the jester or professional fool was a version of this, though the single or mul- tiple ends were padded to stand up or curve over and were finished by bells. The cap was traditionally ornamented with a don- key's cars and was attached to a shoulder cape as in a medieval hood. Women wore caps indoors from the six- teenth century onwards until the later nineteenth and, out-of-doors, often placed the currently fashionable hat or hood on top. These indoor caps varied considerably in style during the centuries, mainly due to changes in the manner of dressing the hair. They were nearly always white, made of lawn or cambric, and were sometimes stiffened. They were decorated by lace bordering, embroidery, pleated or ruffled edges and ribbon bows and loops, the latter usually in colour. The greatest varia- tion probably existed in Dutch caps which differed in design from region to region. Especially in the seventeenth century, ladies wore more than one cap, one on top of another, and with an increased quantity of decoration. The eighteenth century was the great age for ladies wearing indoor caps. In the earlier years these were small, perched on the top or the back of the head and with dependant lappets at the back. With the advent of the large coiffures and wigs of the 1770s and 1780s, so the caps became larger and larger and more and more elaborately decorated. There were several types: the baigneuse, worn origin- ally in the bath, but later in use for day- time fashion; the dormeuse, originally designed for night-time use, but again later worn in the day also. Both styles were elaborate, tied under the chin with ribbons and held closely to the cheeks with ruching and pleats. The mob cap was a particularly English design which had a full puffed crown with ribbon band decoration and a flounced edge. Until about 1750 it was tied under the chin and had side lappets. After this it was generally worn unfastened. The size varied with the coiffure styles and it remained in use until the nineteenth century. The butterfly cap was perched on the head; it had a flat back, a frilled front edge and no fastening. The round- eared cap was similar, though it sometimes had single or double side lappets. Men also wore caps when relaxing at home in the later seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries because, in these years, where they adopted heavy wigs for appear- ing in public, they shaved or closely trimmed their own hair. At home, therefore, they wore a negligic cap. This was full, pleated or gathered into a band, and was made of a rich fabric and worn with a dressing or relaxing gown. At night men wore a napkin cap, which was a plain nightcap to cover the head and to avoid taking chill in cold weather in ill-heated rooms. The wearing of a cap began to have a social connotation from the sixteenth cen- tury onwards. In Europe this indicated that for men and boys a cap was worn by servants, schoolboys and apprentices' and for women it became a mark of the domestic servant as ladies ceased to wear it in the middle of the nineteenth century. How- ever, when in the nineteenth century gentlemen began to wear a cap for country and sportswear, this gave a lift to the garment, and a cap, with vizor or peak, became de t@gueur. The man's cloth cap with vizor was worn with the Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers, while the deer- stalker design, with car flaps tied up over the crown, was especially fashionable from 1870-90. The montero cap was worn from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. This was a peaked cap with side flaps which was in use for travelling, for moun- tain wear and for extreme cold. The flaps could be let down over the cars to protect the traveller. The fez, said to be so called after the town of Fez in Morocco, was a brim-less cap shaped like a truncated cone. Made of cloth or wool, it was generally dark red but could also be in dark blue or black and was decorated by a silk tassel on top. It might be worn alone or be part of a turban head-dress. The fez was made part of the national dress of the Turks in the early nineteenth century and all Turks wore it until Turkey became a republic in 1923 and the cap was proscribed. Tarboosh is the Arabic name for this cap, which is worn by Moslems of both sexes in the Middle East. It may be draped with a scarf or be part of a turban. It was introduced into India in the nineteenth century. Similar is the checia (checehia), also gener- ally red, which was worn by Arabs and by French troops in Africa.

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2006 March 28