2006 | 54 | 2 | 211-220
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The article is based on the analysis of children's garments, made of silk textiles, found in the course of archaeological exploration in the following churches: the church of the Assumption in Torun, St Nicholas' in Torun, St John's in Gdansk, St Peter and Paul's in Tworków near Jelenia Góra, Blessed Virgin Mary's in Kostrzyn and St John's Cathedral in Lublin. The garments were collected from graves located inside the churches. The analysis has distinguished three classes of burial clothes: burial shirts, also called 'deathly shirts', clothes that were normally worn before they were used for burial, and clothes following the current fashion, prepared specially for the funeral ceremony. Burial shirts were among the simplest and the most widespread forms of clothing used for burial, for both children and adults. Such a shirt was either sewn especially for the interment, or chosen from the dead person's everyday underwear. Children's shirts were found in three graves, in the crypts of the church of the Assumption in Torun (two items dated to the early 17th c.) and in St Peter and Paul's church in Tworków (a shirt dated to the mid 17th c). Shirts specially prepared for the funeral ceremony were usually made of thin silk textiles, plain or patterned. They are knee-long or feet-long. They are very simply cut; usually they were sewn from one or several rectangular pieces of textile. They have no rounded neck openings or armholes (or these are barely marked), and sometimes they lack the back. Elements are joint by loose backstitch or basting, or even only pinned. Garments which were normally worn before they were used in burial do not show features of one-use clothing. They were sewn so as to be usable, durable and comfortable. Thus, they have armholes, rounded neck openings and well-modelled backs. The stitches are dense and neat. Children's clothes of that type were found in St John's Cathedral in Lublin (two zupans, overcoats, two linings; 17th-18th c.) and in St Peter and Paul's church in Tworków (a zupan, end of 17th c.). Those garments became burial clothes only when they were put into the grave with the dead child's body. One-use clothes following the current fashion sewn specially for the funeral ceremony were found in the crypt of Blessed Virgin Mary's church in Kostrzyn (a long dress trimmed with golden lace, shoes and a cap, a dress decorated with bows, swaddling clothes and two caps; 17th/18th c.) and in St Nicholas' church in Torun (a wams with trousers; 2nd half of 17th c.). The style and cut of the front part follow the current vogue but the construction of the back part and the way of fastening elements are characteristic of one-use garments (no rounded neck openings or armholes, a carelessly made or missing back, loose and shoddy stitches, some parts and ornaments only pinned). All the types of burial clothing discussed co-occurred in children's burials, and probably also in adults' burials. (4 fig.)
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  • A. Drazkowska, Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika w Toruniu, ul. Szosa Bydgoska 46/48, 87-100 Torun, Poland
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