Textile Society of America



Miriam Milgram

Date of this Version



From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).


Copyright © 1998 by the author(s)


In the Gotse Delchev area of Bulgaria, girls in many villages still bring hand-woven dowry items to their wedding. These items include bread cloths, aprons, baby carriers, horse rugs. floor rugs, and bed covers. The dowry items are prepared by the girl and her mother, beginning as early as the daughter's birth in some cases. Since a girl and her family are Judged upon the quality of the work, it is of great importance that the hand-woven items demonstrate skill and aesthetic values. The competition to have the best possible dowry items leads to 'stealing' especially fine patterns, which in turn leads to changing fashion in aesthetics. Each village or set of villages has its own style of ornamentation, and even its own traditional way of displaying the dowry. This paper uses several actual dowries to illustrate how the dowry and its display reflect the changing aesthetics and unchanging need for the dowry and its public presentation.