Cap (Spain), late 18th century
Medium: silk Technique: knitted cap, knotted tassel Label: Knitted silk with knotted chenille tassel. Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf. 1951-105-35.
What is this?
Dark red knitted silk cap with diagonally ribbed body, and crown with a star-shaped area of varied knitting patterns. With very long ornament of silk cords and chenille, forming three lozenge shapes and terminating in two tassels.
Why is this important?
That knitted caps enjoyed great popularity in eighteenth-century Spain can be seen in the many examples in museum collections in the United States and Europe. Knitted in dark red silk, this cap is primarily patterned with thin diagonal ribs while the very top has a geometric arrangement of lozenges and triangles. The dramatic tassel, at nearly twenty-three inches in length, is formed from two twisted skeins of yarn that have rings of knotted silk and tufted chenille attached. Paintings and prints from the period suggest that men and women wore these knitted caps on celebratory occasions, and that they were an important accessory of native dress in Spain. No artist expressed this innate "Spanishness" better than Francisco Goya (1746–1828), who painted lively scenes of Spaniards wearing knitted caps and other forms of traditional Spanish dress.