Buttons. History of the most ordinary things
They say that everything new is something old that has been long forgotten. Button decor belongs to this category. Yes! Yes! Up to the 14th century buttons were used only as a decoration. Or as an amulet. According to some linguists, the Russian word “pugovitsa” (button) came from the word “pugat’” – to frighten. A button correctly selected and sewn in the right place was supposed to ward off misfortunes.
And buttons were made of all sorts of materials! From shells and pearls, stone, glass, and metals. And obviously from precious metals. Because buttons were the symbol of wealth and nobility. From the buttons on the wearer’s clothing it was possible to determine his status.
But the status of buttons themselves changed only with the invention of…button holes! Armourers for mediaeval knights were the very first trade to use the combination of button/button-hole.
By the way, exactly at that time the distinct method of buttoning male and female clothing arose. In male clothes, the left part covered the right. But why? Because, when a knight approached an enemy he approached with the left shoulder forward, protecting that shoulder with a shield. In his right hand, the warrior would hold his sword. Moving sidelong so that the left side would precede the right, protecting the warrior from being struck by the enemy’s weapon.
Author: Marina Sobe-Panek.