1840–70. Hungarian. Wool, leather & cotton.
The Hungarian szür is derived from mantles over 2500 years old, and continued to be worn into the early 20th century. The garment was worn by shepherds mostly, providing protection from the harsh elements. Their thick wool felt was protective against cold and wet, and the long collars were adorned with roundels at the lower corners that could be connected to form a hood. Generally knee to mid-calf length, they were heavily adorned with embroidery and appliqués specific to their locality. The szür was usually worn draped over the shoulders, with the sleeves hanging loose. It was a much-coveted object, and so costly that many men resorted to thievery to afford one. The motifs of this szür were inspired by ancient Islamic motifs. The intricacy and density of the embroidery is stunning and virtuosic. | THE MET