Today i will be talking about the costumes of the Dinaric Region, and specifically about the town of Vrlika.
The Dinaric zone covers most of the Dinaric Mountain Range, and includes inland Dalmatia, Western Bosnia, most of Hercegovina, and Montenegro. Physically the mountains continue into Kosovo and Macedonia, but these are not generally included in the Dinaric Ethnographic zone, being inhabited by other nationalities.. Here is a topographical map of the area.
There is basically one costume type worn in this area, with only minor modifications. The most distinctive are the Montenegrin and the Dubrovnik-Konavle-Čilipi costumes. Each of these will be featured in future postings. Vrlika is a small city in the middle of the Croatian Dinaric mountains, in the province of Dalmatia. You can find the location on this map. It is aproximately halfway between Knin and Sinj, directly north of the famous coastal city of Split.
Vrlika is known for having kept its costume and traditions for longer than some other areas in these mountains. Here are a couple of images to acquaint you with this costume in general.
There is an open vest worn over this, short in the northern variant and longer in the southern. In Vrlika it typically falls somewhere past the hips. It is often called Zubun, but in Vrlika is more commonly called Sadak. It is made of heavy wool in either white or black, and has a gusset inserted at the sides to make it flare somewhat, especially in the long variant. Here are two generic cuts for this garment, long and short. See also the drawing above, on the right.
The length of this garment varies somewhat in Vrlika, older and married women tending to wear them longer.
The Sadak is very heavily ornamented, in patterns distinctive to each community. In Vrlika, there are broad bands of appliqued red wool around the edges, this is very typical. [In the very few Muslim communities which wear this costume, the red is replaced by green]. Here are a couple of back views of the Sadak.
Besides the applequed panels of red and other coloered wool, there are circular appliques behind the arms, which are called Zvrk, and bands on the lower hem, which are either embroidered in chain stitch, or have braid applique in similar very distinctive designs. This type of design is typical of this entire region.
The distinctive headgear for both men and unmarried girls in the dinaric region is the red cap, crvenkapa. Originally the top was slightly cone shaped, but now it is usually flat. The girl's version has a silver brooch, or more than one, holding the end of a peacock feather. There may be other smaller brooches or silver coins attached as well. A white kerchief is folded into a triangle and pinned to the top. Married women braided their hair into a wooden frame, as in Prigorje, and the kerchief was pinned directly to the braids, as you can see in the photo above. Here is a drawing of the old style cap, followed by a photo of a woman in the new style cap, followed by another photo of a woman in the traditional marred headgear.
Elaborate filligree or granulated earrings and other jewelry are common in the Dinaric region, but rare in Vrlika. Necklaces of glass beads, coral or silver coins are common.The silver coins, of course, are part of her dowry. There is a unique garment sometimes worn in Vrlika which is perhaps the result of inflation. This is indicated by its name, Djerdan, which simply means necklace. It consists of a length of linen which covers the front of the body, and which is covered with silver coins. A kerchief is often attached to this at the strap which goes around the neck. Men wear a similar kerchief around their waists. Originally they were hand embroidered, but today mass produced printed kerchiefs are worn. A marriageable girl would wear the Djerdan on special occasions to show off her family's wealth. Here is a photo showing a girl wearing her Djerdan.
Here is a video showing songs and dances from this region. Note that they have a tradition of dancing without music.
Here is another video with a different song but essentially the same dance. In this video two of the women are wearing the winter garment, and four of them have the married woman's headpiece.
Vladimir Kirin, 'Narodne Nosnje Jugoslavije - Hrvatska', Zagreb, 1986
Ribaric/Szenczi, 'Vezak Vezla - Croatian Folk Embroidery', Zagreb, 1973
Jelka Ribaric et al, 'The Folk Costumes of Croatia', Zagreb, 1975
Walter Kolar, 'Croatians - Costumes they Wear', Pittsburgh, 1975
Nikola Pantelic, 'Traditional Arts and Crafts in Yugoslavia', Belgrade, 1984
Vladimir Salopek, 'Folk Costumes and Dances of Yugoslavia, Zagreb, 1987
Mariana Gusic, 'Traditional Femole [sic] Headgear in Croatian Folk Costume', Zagreb
Zorislava Culic, 'Narodne Nosnje u Bosni i Hercegovini', Sarajevo, 1963
Postcards in personal collection