In Greece there are several collections of “traditional costumes”, i.e., garments with a strongly local character, which were in use up to the early 20th century. “Traditional costumes” are directly linked to Modern Greek folk culture: they were formed in its context and they are its most typical and obvious image. They have often been used as a national icon and are popular with people of all ages, who admire them and, on occasions of national celebrations and dance festivals, take pleasure and pride in dressing in replicas of them. Since they have stopped being worn many decades ago, the existing collections are a major source for their study, and they are respectfully referred to by scholars, the public and makers of replicas. The provenance
of these collections—the criteria used, the persons involved, the purposes served, etc.—deeply affects the extent and the nature of our knowledge on the objects included in them. Given the inadequate information usually recorded on provenance issues, a thorough search of all potential sources with an aim to put together ‘biographies’ of collections will help to understand the collecting context
of the objects and their respective historical and interpretational value.
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