Teacher's Resources

Small Stories

Small Stories - The Netherlands

Carved wooden clogs, blunt pointed upturned toe.

These wooden clogs come from a small island in the Netherlands called Marken. Before a man got married, he carved clogs with beautiful designs for his bride.

Carved clogs
Marken, Netherlands, late 19th century
BSM P86.251

Small Stories - Turkey

Incised silver over wood nalins and matching bowl.

This bowl and matching silver sandals, or nalin, was a wedding present given to a bride in Turkey 100 years ago. Silver costs a lot of money, so this was precious gift.

Silver nalin and bowl
Istanbul, Turkey, c. 1900
BSM P89.240

Small Stories - Sweden

Dark brown embossed leather shoes with latchets.

Some brides in Sweden wore shoes like these. Notice that the heel is in the middle of the sole, not at the back. The bride had to walk by putting her toes down first rather than her heels, because of the way her shoes were made.

Leather shoes with inset birch bark heels
Sweden, c. 1795-1820
BSM P83.167

Small Stories - France

Wooden clog with very long pointed and upturned toe, black leather vamp overlay nailed on with decorative motifs, metal instep strap with black leather strip in centre.

In France, a man would carve these wooden clogs and give them to his fiancé on Christmas Eve to show how much he loved her. This clog was carved from one piece of wood and is decorated with nails that form a heart.

Decorated wooden clog
Ariege, France, early 20th century
BSM P86.66

Small Stories - Malaysia

Finely beaded mules with short vamp beaded flower design, red painted insole, narrow heel.

Some people in Malaysia originally came from China, and brought their traditions with them. Young girls learned how to make and decorate shoes, just like they would have in China. The groom's family made sure that a woman was good at making beautiful shoes before they would let their son marry her.

Beaded mules
Malacca Straits, Malaysia
BSM P79.93

Small Stories - Morocco

Babouche with layered leather sole, pointed toe. Upper solidly embroidered with metallic gold thread on green velvet. Inside lined with pink flannel.

Moroccan brides wore babouches made of beautiful fabrics, with lots of decoration on them. Notice the special pink lining.

Pair of embroidered wedding babouche
Morocco, 1950
BSM P79.673

Small Stories - Saami

Pair of white reindeer leg boots with felted wool liners.

The Saami live in the most northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Traditionally, white reindeer fur boots with curled toes were worn by both the bride and groom. This pair was made for a man and is decorated with colourful pompoms.

White reindeer fur boots
Anar, Finland, c. 1990
BSM P00.19

Small Stories - Zuni

Native tanned skin with rawhide soles.

The Zuni live in the southwestern United States. Traditionally, a Zuni groom had to make the wedding boots his bride would wear at the wedding. The pieces of white deerskin wrap around her legs and would be tied on with thin strips of leather.

Southwestern United States, mid- 20th century
BSM S80.1402