Thursday 13 January 2011

The Marker Bodice and Scottish Rail

The bodices or stays worn by the females of Marken (and small boys up to the age of 5) are a wonder of embroidery to behold. They are called Ryglyf. This bodice with 7 roses is traditional and would have been worn by a bride to be when going to church in the period between her formal betrothal and her wedding ceremony.
It is just unfortunate that my postcards come from an earlier black and white period since the colours of the bodices are very bright: reds, golds, greens, blues - but when was the Marker woman ever afraid of anything, least of all colour? Do look at the head dresses also in each of these images - a band of black embroidered vernaaide linten can just be spied beneath their batiste caps.
There is a semaphore of costume which you probably have to be a Marker native to interpret. It was habitual for the younger girls to have their bodices laced at the back, and they wore a decorative chintz bib over their front. When the girls were about 14 or so - courting age - the custom was to change the bodice around and have it laced from the front... When the girl is 16 or 17, the back of her hair is cut short, leaving just the long pipe curls on each side of her face. Her flowered cap is replaced by a white one. This beautiful girl may be a newly-wed.
It is very interesting that in John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language dated 1818, he derives the Scottish word Rail - meaning a jacket - from the word Ryglyf. Now I know what I shall be doing in my spare moments - I shall work through this dictionary looking for other Scottish words derived from North Sea European countries!

The Sampler of Motifs from Marken charts 15 vernaaider linten bands - you can either work the sampler as a whole or take a pattern for just a band to decorate a pillow edge or napkin. It is now available at half price with purchase of the Amager Panel 1799 - and not only that, we include the airmail costs to wherever you live in the world. I hope that is a nice treat for you. Click here to see more or buy.


  1. I enjoyed working on the Vernaaide Linten van Marken.
    Thank you for the story about the Rijglijf.

  2. Lovely pics Jaqueline! I still haven`t stitched my marken bands yet, but I pull it out and look at it ocassionally. I must admit, the thought of short hair with those long curls makes me giggle...I wonder how that hairstyle developed? It must look very odd with the cap off. It also reminds me of my mom doing my hair...curling the ringlets around her fingers, and enduring the prickly bobby pins til my hair dried...I hated it!