Cream wool female vest with black, green and blue embroidery. Floral design with center circle and eight circles extending.
The shoulder straps are black colored wool, the black wool runs down the lenght of the vest so that is borders the inner opening. In the black there are alternating blue and green flowers. The flowers have eight pedals. The flowers are formed by circles, the center is the largest circle and then smaller circles from the pedals. The pedals are connected to the center circle by little lines. The background behind the little lines is white wool. The flowers are smaller on the shoulder straps and larges on the body of the vest.
On the bottom of the vest there are two rows of flowers. They alternating going across and down. The two rows of flowers rap around the entire bottom of the vest. There is a blue line of thread that seperates the two rows of flowers. There are also a thread of blue on the bottom of the last row of flowers. The edge of the bottom of the best is gray woven wool and on the very bottom there is blue thread woven into the gray.
Under the bottom of the hole for the arm is a single green flower and next to it is a blue flower with a green and a blue flower underneath it. In the center of the front is white wool it is bored by little spokes that come out from. The white is in a "L" shape. In the taller part of there is a row of black that goes down in the center. On the left of that line there is a small flower. There are eight pedals in black, they are in more of a square shape and the center is an outlined square. On the other side of the line is another flower. The flower is larger than the other black one. There are eight pedals that are in a rectangle shape that the center is cream. The center of the flower is formed by a black thread that is in a square. Along the bottom is a pattern that is created from black wool. The patter is black "V"s that have black circles at top points of the "V" and two circles at the bottom of the "V."
The back of the vest has two rows of flowers on each side that start at the top and go halfway down the vest. The left side starts with a blue flower on top and alternates blue and green. The right sides has a green flower on top. On the inner rows there are an "X" in both rows. The left "X" is green and the right "X" is blue. In the middle of each set of rows is a blue thread. In the center of the vest it is white wool and not black wool. Bordering the black wool is little black triangles. On the upper sides of the best there is blue wool woven into the black. There are two black lines that come down on the sides of the vest. There are two black lines that are at the third marks on the vest. In between the black lines at the side and semi-center there is a black flower. The flower eight pedals that are in a rectangle shape and an outline of the square as the center. The bottom of the white section has a "V" pattern. Each "V" has two dots on the top points and two dots at the center bottom points. On the bottom of the vest there are two horizontal rows of flowers. The flowers alternate between green and blue with a blue thread line between the rows. On the bottom there is blue thread woven into the bottom on the black. It raps around the bottom of the best.
The interior of the vest is white wool with the back stitching of the pattern.
The donor lived in Greece from 1965-1982 and wore and owned the Sarakatsani costume.
This style of vest came from the Sarakatsani people. Sarakatsani are indigenous people from Greek. They are nomatic people who live half the year in the mountains. Their art (song, pottery, dance, clothing design) resembles the geometric art of pre-classical Greece. Furthermore, Sarakatsani still practice traditional folk medicine. They are Greek Orthodox Christians and associate with Church of Greece. They begin their migration up the mountains on Saint George Day in April and return to the low plains on Saint Demetrius in October. Sarakatsanies have lived in countries surrounding Greece (Bulgaria, Albania, Republic of Macedonia). However, now there are only measurable numbers of people in Greece and Bulgaria. For women's outfits there are thirteen parts. Most items are made from hand-wooven wool.
This vest is called a Sarakatsani and it is the outer vest. The inner vest is called a polkaki. The polkaki is worn over the chemise. There are hooks on the front to keep the vest closed and the back is usually undecorated because the tzamandani coveres the back. The tzamandani is longer than the polkaki and remains open in the front. Also, there is a center seam in the back. Traditionally, there are five double pleats from the waist to the bottom.
There have been significant decreases in the population of Sarakatsani due to urbanization. Many have willing left; however, others have left because there is not enough open land to support their lifestyle.
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Vest, 1940s, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/8469. Accessed 10/24/21.