Early 19th Century Polish Woman's Sabbath Cap 'Kupka'
Gold and silver wrapped thread on canvas, gold thread embroidery, embellished with decorative appliques and sequins; silk lining.
Rare example of a magnificent cap worn on the Sabbath and holidays to cover the hair of a well-to-do married Jewish woman. This sumptuous head-covering fashioned of gold and silver thread was produced by Jews using an intricate decorative technique known as spanier arbeit. The term spanier arbeit has been translated either as "spun work," derived from the Yiddish word spinnen, or as "Spanish work." Although the exact origin of this craft is still unknown, by the mid-19th century, the main center for the production of spanier arbeit work was Sasow, a town in eastern Galicia (a historical region in Central Europe that currently straddles the borders of Poland and the Ukraine.) Jewish uses of Spanier arbeit include the manufacture of luxury textiles such as Atarot (decorative neckbands for Talitot), women’s head coverings and women’s bodice pieces known as brustikher.