10/03/2008

Hair-do of the week - The crown of St Margret

This is not exactly a 'how you had your hair'-post, but it is without a doubt true that sometimes your coiffure was accentuated by some kind of ornament - a veil, a hood, a hat or, as in this case, a crown. These were just as important for how your head was perceived (if not more so) than how you had your hair.

This crown comes from the tomb of St. Margret of Hungary who died in 1270. She was the daughter of king Bela IV of Hungary - which made her a princess. She did not live at court though, but instead in a convent. Just aged 3 she was sent to a Dominican convent and when she was 12 she moved to a newly opened convent of the same order in Budapest. Her father eventually wanted her to leave the convent to marry, he even got a papal dispensation for her - but she refused. She continued her godly life and was renowned for it even in her own lifetime. She was beatified just six years after her death - and made formal saint in 1934.

The crown is clearly a sign of her status as a royal princess and not of that as a nun. Nuns did not usually get buried with crowns. This crown was made of silver and then gilded. It is not round but made out of eight pieces that are put together in an octagonal shape. Each piece is then decorated with colourful stones and pieces of metal shaped like leaves. It is a rather fanciful head-wear - really suitable for a royal princess to wear on her hair-do.

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