The Gloves

The use of gloves reaches back to  ancient times.

In the middle Ages, vassal cities were accustomed to offer a glove to the King as an act of submission. During the coronation ceremony, the Archbishop  used to bless a pair of gloves for the sovereign as a sign of crown possession and loyalty.

A gauntlet, could be a glove made of leather or some kind of metal armour,   which was a strategic part of a soldier’s defense throughout the Middle Ages. Later the advent of firearms made hand-to-hand combat. As a result, the need for gauntlets also disappeared.

In the time of chivalry,  to throw a glove was an act of defiance against an opponent and  it signified  his  intention to fight.

Later, the glove was transformed as a clothing garment – it became   a touch of sophistication. They were part of the accessories needed for the elegance of dress. Dark gloves were used in the morning and white or cream color ones in the evenings. They began to be worn by ladies as a fashion ornament. They were made of linen and silk, and sometimes reached the elbow.

Such worldly accoutrements were not for holy women. Sumptuary laws were promulgated to restrain this vanity: against samite gloves in Bologna, 1294 and against perfumed gloves in Rome, 1560.

A Paris corporation or guild of Glovers existed in the thirteenth century.

It was not until the 16th century that gloves reached their greatest elaboration.  Queen Elizabeth I set the fashion for wearing them richly embroidered.  She would for put them on and take them off during audiences to draw attention to her beautiful hands.

Society created new rules to use gloves:

– A woman puts on gloves outside, but she removes them when she is inside of a house.

– She is to  take off the gloves when she shake hands with an older women.

– The man always takes off his gloves to greet a woman.

– If two men use gloves, the youngest man will follow the example of his predecessor to shake hands.

– It is clear to never embrace a gloved hand.

-There are so many kinds of gloves, depending of the ornaments and customs:

Buckskin gloves, chamois, yarn, silk, cotton, wool, fur gloves … and other material drawn through the ages…

Photos from Pinterest: la boît en os,,



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