“Veiled, Unveiled” – Vienna

Women in a Beni Hlal village. Smiyra, Southern Morocco, October 2015, Photographer: Georg Gressenbauer
Bridal Headscarf, Mendil, Berb., Tamendilt, Tunisia, Tamezret, mid 20th cent., © KHM-Museumsverband
Headscarf and Shawl, RusariIran, Khorasan, Zāvīn, c.1976, © KHM-Museumsverband

If you finished visiting all the Viennese Secession buildings and that you have felt for the 36th time to get your ticket for the Bruegel exhibition, then My Craft Curator would advise you to cross the street between the museum of fine arts and the museum of cultural history to go to the latest to visit a fascinating temporary exhibition “Veiled, Unveiled” open until March of the history of headscarves and headwear.




Tzute, Headscarf for Members of a Cofradía with Doubleheaded Eagles, K’iche’ Maya, Nahualá, Guatemala, before 1980, © KHM-Museumsverband


The exhibition recreates the history of these textile covering heads and hair in different religion and different culture of the world without forgetting to mention its importance in most of European traditional costumes.


Award-winning costume with headscarf, 1964, © The Fashion School of the City of Vienna Archive, Hetzendorf Castle

From one room to the other we understand how this fabric has evolved, what are the motifs and the colors and why it as often been instrumentalized by cultural history. The exhibition also considers headscarves as a potential fashion accessory with sketches from the 60s and more recent photographs.

Headscarf for Men and Women, Tunisia, Sfax and surroundings, before 1914, © KHM-Museumsverband


This is how the exhibition is covering centuries of headscarves and headwear’s history from early Christianism until today. Moreover, when usually the question of headscarves are commonly limited to women only issue, headwear’s unable to widen the topic to a non-biased gender approach when considering men headwear.




Nilbar Güreş, Soyunma/Undressing, 2006, HD single channel video, 06:19 min, colour, sound, Courtesy Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna



But this exhibition is above all the perfect excuse to see wonderful fabric with embroideries, hand woven or with intricate patterns, exhibited along with ethnographic content, old photography, contemporary video art.







It needs to be seen by any passionate about history, textiles and history of societies!


Written by Margot

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