DATE: Before 1275
MATTER AND TECHNIQUE:Silk, metallic threads, glass, water bottles, cabochons. Fabric, embroidery, die cut, crimped
DIMENSIONS: Height greater 15.7 cm; lower height 13.5 cm; diameter 19 cm
COLLECTION: Royal Pantheon of Las Huelgas de Burgos, grave of Infante Don Fernando
STOCK NUMBER: 00650523
DESCRIPTION: This headdress has a cylindrical shape with a lining and strips of fabric for adjustment. It is decorated on the surface with barracks of castles and lions. The castles are designed with blue beads on a golden silver surface that is arranged on a red background of vitreous beads, and the lions are embroidered on the background of pearl beads. Top with two metal perimeter strips on the top and bottom that are decorated with cabochons and incised decoration with shields of castles and lions.
The Monastery of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas de Burgos, founded in 1187 by Alfonso VIII and Leonor Plantagenet, served during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as a pantheon of the Castilian royal family. The opening of its graves, carried out for a scientific purpose of study, occurred between 1942 and 1944, and provided what is to date the best set of medieval civilian clothing in the world, both in quantity and quality. Despite the violent openings suffered throughout history, one of the burials of the pantheon, attributed to Emperor Alfonso VII, remained intact until the twentieth century. After its opening and study, the infant Fernando de la Cerda (1255-1275), heir of Alfonso X the Wise, was awarded. The grave, with all its contents intact,
The infant was buried with his own suit, complemented by a ring in his right hand, a beautiful belt, his sword, and some spikes. His body rested on several pillows in a wooden coffin lined, both outside and inside, with rich textiles. Unlike previous times, the men of the 13th century liked to cover their heads with different headdresses, an exceptional example being this mortarboard decorated with the infant’s weapons.
The mortarboard is made by a cylindrical beech wood frame, which serves as a support, covered by a thin white canvas lined with crimson taffeta, on which the heraldic decoration is arranged. The chinstrap is made with two fragments of fabric sewn in round, decorated with a crimson geometric composition outlined in black on a golden background.
The decoration of castles of castles and lions are the weapons that corresponded to the infant, firstborn of Alfonso X, and responds to the taste for the so-called heraldic fashion, typical of the second half of the thirteenth century, in which this decorative motif invades all kinds of surfaces. In the context of the Monasterio de las Huelgas, he adorns several royal graves and decorates the textile trousseau and clothing, such as the saya, the ball and the mantle of the same infant, or the mantle of King Ferdinand III the saint.
This type of ceremonial headdress, called mortarboard or bonnet, is framed within the generic type of leather, which according to Carmen Bernis would be a more general voice for all types of garments worn on the head. Inspired by the military world, its origin lies in the cylindrical helmets of the early thirteenth century, and caused a furor among the privileged classes. The Book of Games and Las Cantigas by Alfonso X el Sabio offer several examples of people touched with this type of mortarboard, which in the case of royal representations, is adorned with the barracks of castles and lions, following the same colors as this model.
Only three copies of this type of headdress are preserved: the one belonging to the infant Don Felipe (+ 1274), son of Fernando III, extracted from his grave in the church of Santa María la Blanca in Villalcázar de Sirga (Palencia) and preserved in the National Archaeological Museum; that of King Alfonso X (+1284), buried in the cathedral of Seville and still in his sepulcher; and the richest of all, this specimen belonging to the infant Fernando de la Cerda, found his grave in the Monastery of Las Huelgas.
BERNIS MADRAZO, Carmen, Spanish medieval clothing. Madrid: Diego Velázquez Institute of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, 1956.
DESCALZO, Amalia. “Les vêtements royaux du monastère Santa Maria la Real de Huelgas.” In Fashion and clothing in late medieval Europe, edited by Regula Schorta and Reiner Christoph Schwinges, 97-106. Switzerland: Abegg-Stiftung, Riggisberg, 2009.
GÓMEZ MORENO, Manuel. The royal Pantheon of the Strikes of Burgos. Madrid: Higher Council for Scientific Research, 1946.
HERRERO CARRETERO, Concha. Catalog of the Museum of Medieval Fabrics. National Heritage, 1988
PIDAL MENENDEZ, Faustino. Heraldry of the royal house of León and Castilla: 12th-16th centuries. Madrid: Hidalguía, 2011.
YARZA LUANCES, Joaquín. Rich clothes. The monastery of Las Huelgas and its time 1170-1340. [cat. exp. Madrid, Royal Palace]. National Heritage, 2005.