Is That Real Human Hair, or Silk??I have been getting alot of questions as of late about hair bonnets, so thought I would share a few of the ones we have here in the collection with you to try and clear up the current internet muddleness about these bonnets~ are they really real human hair??? horse hair??? silk? How were they worn? Are they wigs?
I will begin with sending you on a little journey here to Winterthur where you can read all about their 'mysterious' little cap. Really they aren't so mysterious, just not very common. The cap or bonnet pictured above, 796.2014.49, dates to c1850 and is hand made of a louped and knotted silk fiber. Most folks readily assume they are made of real human hair, but no, they are not. I will show you a real hair cap in a minute~
The face edges are sometimes plain, sometimes woven in fancy plaits or braids~ all made from the same louped silk fibers
This cap, 713.2013.31, on the other hand, is made from horsehair, and dates c1835-40. Most likely French, it closely resembles the elaborate plaited wigs made there for dolls. I do not believe it is a wig tho, but a cap similar to the ones above, meant to be worn over the hair of its owner and to enhance it. Imagine how long it would take, to sit and have ones own hair plaited in such a fashion~ it would be much easier & quicker to just be able to strap it on!
It can be worn either way~ it has no 'wrong side', including where the ties are attached at the ends
The back sits open, for wearers own hair (bun) to fit thru
The entire piece is elaborately woven in different plaits and knots, with a smooth side, and then this loupe side facing up
Even the front band is tightly woven hair~ I love this piece, its one of my favorites in the whole collection