Object ID
Object Name
Shoe, Tsarouxia
8.0975200000 cm. W x 11.2725200000 cm. L Includes board, Item (Overall)
Access Points
Object Description
Small doll-sized red tsarouxia with golden braiding around the bottom edge. A huge pom pom is on the toe. It is mainly blue, with a red circle in the center outlined in white. The opening of the shoe has a black lining eith green, red, and white stitching. Under it, there is a jagged white border. The inside of the shoe has white stitching. There is a board attached to the back of the shoe by a wire. It is plain on the back, with four studs in a row through it. Three of the studs have a white plastic string interwoven between them on the front. The fourth stud is slightly further off and at an angle. There is a piece of blue plastic covering the front of the board, with a smaller white piece of plastic inside of it, and a red piece of plastic inside of the white one. (One shoe of a pair, F2016.115)
This, and several other objects, were found next to a note with the name "Mary P. Fotopoulos." However, since no accession record can be found for any of the objects, it is unclear which of them were donated by Mary Fotopoulos. Tsarouxia shoes are typically known nowadays as part of the traditional uniform worn by the Greek guards known as Evzones. Their origin is obscure and goes back to the Byzantine times, with influences from styles imported by neighbouring tribes, including the Turks. Originally, various types of similar shoes were worn all over the Balkans, but tsarouhia are mainly associated with the Greeks. They were the most common footwear worn by both urban and rural Greeks, mainly men, but also many women. After the Greek Independence in early 19th century, their use was limited to isolated rural areas and nomadic populations, seen by westernised urbanites as sign of uncouthness and backwardness. In a version with reinforced sole, they remained the issue boot for the Evzone units well into the 20th century, though after First World War were gradually replaced in active service by the standard laced boot. Tsarouxia provided a clear link with the origin of the Evzone uniform in the traditional Greek costume, and the fact that Evzones were largely enlisted from rural mountainous regions of Greece. Nowadays are almost exclusively used by the Presidential guard and in various traditional festivals and dances along with other traditional Greek garments. Tsarouxia are typically made of a number of pieces of stiff leather hand-sewn together and have a characteristic pointy nose, usually covered by a large woollen pompon. The latter was a relatively late addition, originally a way of making the shoe nose waterproof, but increasingly became an essential feature for their decoration. Simpler versions also exist, made from one piece of leather held in shape with thongs (a very common type found everywhere in the Balkans, e.g. Opanak or Charvuli) and without any decoration.
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Shoe, Tsarouxia, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/11232. Accessed 05/17/22.