Worn by Magyar herdsmen in Hungary as far back as the Middle Ages, the Szur is a dramatic, mid calf coat that was traditionally worn over the shoulders as a cape and lavishly decorated with cutwork felt applique or with dense embroidery. Older men wore szurs embellished with black decoration while young men wore colorful szurs especially when a man proposed. The young man would leave the coat behind at his potential bride’s home. If the answer was yes, the bride and her family would keep his coat inside. If the answer was no, she would leave the coat hanging outside.
This example is decorated with applique and has a crisp design and natural dye palette. The leather yoke would normally have a buckle on it, but this coat is missing its buckle. Many of these coats end up with rust stains from their buckles, so the missing buckle spared this coat from the same fate. The large collar was used as a cover when it was raining.
This coat was part of the exhibition Felt Decoded at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco in 2017.
Circa: Mid 19th century
Material: wool and leather
Condition: A few applique flowers missing, excellent
Dimensions: 58"x 43.5
Inventory number: WR3730