Dress at Alfonso's Court, 13th c. Spain
Funerary Clothing and Equipment of Doña María (?-1235)
Princess María was the youngest daughter of Fernando III 'the Saint' (1199-1252) king of Castile and Leon, and his first wife Beatrice of Swabia. She died as a girl in 1235 and was buried at the Royal Pantheon at St. Isidore's, León. Her age at death is unkown.
Her furnishings there consisted of:
- A coffin in the mudejar style, covered in silk cloth and leather, with rivets.
The cloth is a blue Muslim-Spanish silk with some motifs in red and gold thread. The leather is goatskin, decorated with openwork with geometric motifs. Over the whole thing there are bronze rivets in two sizes, arranged decoratively.
The coffin was made of pine and has an inner lining of linen cloth.
- A silk pellote or sideless surcoat lined with fur.
The cloth is a yellow silk, with vertical bands of gold thread. It was lined with untanned fur, probably rabbit.
- A brocade pillow, with an inner lining and down filling.
The outer cover is made ofdark green silk with geometric motifs in golden yellow. The inner lining is of natural linen. The cushion was introduced through the side, which was later sewn in herringbone stitch1.
- A (rare) cotton shirt or tunic (cotton cloth being a rarity at the time). It was missing the upper part.
It had a decoration of little red crosses at the seams and/or a red silk trimming that I believe are right on the side seams and side-gore seams.
- A pair of hose in raw linen, with a band of linen to hold them at the waist.
According to the restorers, the seam between the legs was very roughly done and deformed the piece so it was undone and resewn during restoration.
The dyes identified are weld yellow, indigo blue and kermes red.
These sketches are based on incomplete information.
- See a diagram from Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary.
- Various authors, Ajuar Funerario de Doña María. Panteón Real. Colegiata de San Isidoro. León., article published in Castilla y León Restaura 1995-1999, Junta de Castilla y León, Valladolid, 1999.
The article has a short description of each item (shirt, hose, pellote, coffin and pillow almohadón), and some information on the restoration process followed. Generally there's a single photograph of each item before restoration, and one after it.