Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars


Mente and Dolman: Hungarian attire

Originally, the term “dolama” referred to a long and loose garment with narrow sleeves and an opening in the front. Generally worn by Turks, it resembled a cassock in shape.  In Hungary, now it is called “dolmány”. It became rather popular in the 16th century. In Sopron, it was called “dómán”, and in the Csallóköz region they called it “dokány”, in Szeged it was “dóka” while in Transylvania it was “domány”.

The so-called “mente” was a short coat, often it was lined with fur, and soldiers wore it over their shoulders. They were it over the dolman. In the picture, you can see a mente:

The dolman of Eszterházy (1), around 1640; the “mente” of Prince Bethlen Gábor (2-3) from 1620; the dolman of Eszterházy Pál (4) from 1680 and the velvet dolman of Lord Bánffy (5) from Transylvania from the 1640s. 

The dolman entered Western culture via Hungary starting in the sixteenth and continuing on into the nineteenth century when Hungarian Hussars developed it into an item of the formal military dress uniform. The jacket was cut tight and short and decorated with passementerie throughout. Under this was worn an embroidered shirt that was cut tightly to the waist and beneath which the shirt flared out into a skirt that sometimes reached nearly to the knee.

Pictures: Eszterházy Pál’s dolmány from 1680, is on display in the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest:

 A decorated saber or sword hung from a barrel sash around the waist. The elaborate style of the dress came to reflect cultural values with regard to romantic military patriotism. A second garment called a pelisse was frequently worn over it: a similar coat but with fur trimming, most often worn slung over the left shoulder with the sleeves (if any) hanging loose.

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