European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

Object Voices / What did pilgrims wear for the Camino de Santiago?

costume historyEuropean fashionfashion history

A column highlighting the marvels each object can show through its history. We believe that objects do have a voice, and we are here to hear them speak.

In 1571 Stephan Praun, son of a wealthy protestant Nuremberg merchant, realized the prestigious pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostela in Northern Spain. His attire, including two coats, a richly decorated hat and the staff have been preserved as a rare ensemble. They survived in the “Kunstkammer” as documents of family pride and status symbols.

When he started his pilgrimage by horse, Stephan was based in Madrid, where he was living at the Habsburg Emperor’s Court. His white cloak in wool felt with a lining made of silk velvet, resembles the clothing of Spanish horsemen recorded in sixteenth century costume books. Very probably, he bought this cloak with a detachable hood in Madrid right before the start of his pilgrimage. In addition, the black cloak worn over the white one, made of black leather, is a typical garment for horse riding protecting the horseman from rain and dust.

The pilgrim’ hat and the shell emblems on the cloak were sold at the pilgrimage sites. Stephan Praun’s hat is overall decorated with shells as well as statuettes of St. James, pilgrim’s bottles and pilgrim’s staffs; probably these hats were prepared in Santiago to be sold to rich pilgrims.

The ensemble is on permanent display in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum’s galleries.