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Picture of the Month


Carnival 1909

Oh dear, this year's carnival season goes on until early March! Fat Tuesday AKA Mardi Gras AKA Faschingsdienstag is on March 4. So, another carnival costume picture.

On the left, we see a costume of the "exotic nationality" type: an "Assyrian dancer". It's a mélange of Indian and Near Eastern features. what's interesting is that according to the magazine, the costume is supposed to be made out of silk satin and silk trim. Imagine making a bleedin' carnival costume out of silk nowadays! Admittedly, they didn't have synthetic substitutes then.

The middle two are of the fantasy-theme type: Strawberry and pansy. Comparing these two, it becomes obvious that fantasy-theme costumes usually were only a default shape (period evening dress cut off at mid-calf), so colours and trims only gave them the theme.

On the right, we have the inevitable domino, the unisex costume for those who were unimaginative or serious about not being recognised. If dominoes were still used today, they'd be mass-produced and cheap, but this one was hand-painted with motifs that are traditionally associated with Ash Wednesday in Germany, such as fish (the dish of choice on that first day of the fasting season) and cats (the German word for tomcat, Kater, also means hangover). Since Ash Wednesday is the first "normal" day after the carnival season, it's a bit like bringing death to the dance: The season ends at midnight between Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. The artist's name and address are given on the fashion plate so that interested persons could order this domino, or have something painted to order. Not a cheap domino, then.


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