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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 9

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and so too the women of any position, except as to the adornment of the head, which is high and striking, a fashion of very ancient date, which they say has been preserved here more faithfully than in the other Greek islands. Their general costume, alia Cipriotta^ is more scanty than the other alia Turca ; it consists of a kind of tight vest, and a skirt of red cotton cloth, the outer garment, which they call benisce (Turkish, binisK) is of cloth, velvet or other silk stuff. This is a long mantle, which starts from the shoulders, and passing over the arms, almost reaches the ground. It is not closed in front, but leaves the body exposed down to the feet. The under garments are of silk, made in the country, and like white veils. They have drawers reaching to the feet, and their boots, called mesti (Turkish, mest), are a kind of low boots of yellow leather, which reach to the instep, under which they wear slippers. They wear no stays, but a little corset of dimity, which stops below the bosom, the rest being covered only by that plain, fine chemise, and another small piece of stuff which they wear for greater modesty. They adorn their necks and arms with pearls, jewels and gold chains. Their head dress, of which I have spoken above, consists of a collection of various handkerchiefs of muslin, prettily shaped, so that they form a kind of casque of a palm's height, with a pendant behind to the end of which they attach another handkerchief folded in a triangle, and allowed to hang on their shoulders. When they go out of doors modesty requires that they should take a corner and pull it in front to cover the chin, mouth and nose. The greater part of the hair remains under the ornaments mentioned above, except on the forehead where it is divided into two locks, which are led along the temples to the ears, and the ends are allowed to hang loose behind over the shoulders. Those who have abundance of hair make as many as eight or ten plaits. Cypriot women like sweet odours about their heads, and to this end adorn them grotesquely with flowers. The Christian ladies when ι] Island and Kingdom of Cyprus 5

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