THE HISTORY OF GLOVES
There is dignity and tradition attached to a pair of gloves, that stretch far back in history. Gloves have symbolised power and honour, sealing important trade deals and challenging opponents to battle.
SYMBOLIC VALUE & FIST FIGHT
Gloves and drawings have been found in Egyptian royal tombs that bear witness of distinguished glove craftsmanship; the Stone Age people of the North used mittens, the gladiators used gloves for fist fights, the wealthy Romans used thin leather gloves due to a lack of eating utensils and in the distinguished circles of 18th-century England, etiquette dictated that the gentlemen changed gloves after each dance.
Throughout time, gloves have been used in both war and peace. In the chain mail of the Middle Ages and the armour of the Renaissance, heavy gloves were crucial for safety during bloody battles. When a knight was knighted and thus came to wear the heavy gloves, this meant a superiority over other ordinary people.
Later in history, gloves like the "musketeer" gloves played an important role both as protection, during fencing matches and as status symbols at the royal courts, where the decoration of the clothing, including the voluminous gloves with lace, fur and precious stones, was a status symbol.
In more recent times, gloves symbolised cleanliness and elegance and were the reason why the upper class was envied. Gloves as an object of decoration was seen as an expensive matter, in a society where the vast majority of the inhabitants lived in the countryside or were workers in the cities.
The Danish writer and etiquette expert Emma Gad wrote in 1918 “Save as little as possible on gloves and footwear. When these things are in order, it makes the whole look neat'.
DID YOU KNOW?
That the word "glove" comes from the German Handschuh, meaning "hand-shoe"?
That in the 12th century, the groom was given a glove as a sign that the bride was now to be his? In Sweden, the man gave his betrothed one of his gloves as a pledge to honouring the wedding vows.
That according to English tradition from 1288, leap day was the only day on which women were allowed to propose? If the man refused, he had to present the scorned suitor with either 12 pairs of gloves or stockings.
That when a man found a new occupation, he received a glove from his master and returned it on its termination?
From the Middle Ages gloves have had a symbolic meaning. Did you know that the act of throwing one's glove in front of another as a sign of challenge to a duel originates?
In the 16th century wearing gloves required the help of servants as gloves had to be laced up?
In 1650 the glove's fourchettes were introduced? A piece of leather is placed in all fingers between the upper and lower hand, ensuring a better fit, as the glove then adapts to the fingers. It is a sewing technique that is still used today.
That the Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793), used Randers Handsker as night gloves? When the first lady of France put on Randers Gloves for bedtime, it was said that it was because of the gloves' unique ability to preserve the moisture and suppleness of the skin, as well as for the pleasant aroma of the Kalmus flower.
That Randers Handsker is mentioned in Henrik Pontoppidan's Nobel Prize-winning novel Lykke Per (1898-1904)?
In the 1930s people wore gloves most of the year. You didn't put them on, but rather walked holding them in one hand or, effortlessly, in one of the pockets of the jacket for purely symbolic value.