Traditional clothing: wedding costumes and jewellery
Along with births and burials, weddings are one of the three great public occasions. Colour, style and the ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants.
Weddings are seen socially as a universal rite of passage. The rituals and traditions of weddings vary from region to region, tribe to tribe (or ethnic group to ethnic group). Some wedding ceremonies take place over several days and involve several changes of clothing, which often represent the change of social status and also of family status in the bride’s case. Wedding dresses in the Arab and Ottoman world and in Eastern European cultures were highly elaborate and regarded as a means of displaying the size of the bride’s dowry and her family’s status. The traditional bridal dress consisted of several layers, embroidered and decorated, and often trimmed with coins or jewellery.
Athenian Bride


Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Louis Dupré


European artists were keen to show different customs from other lands. Here a Greek bride waits for the groom to finish his ritual shave. The care the artist has taken in showing every detail of the bride’s dress betrays his interest in it.

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