The Ethnography Museum tried to weave a tale about the Headscarf.

The museum setting itself is always worth my time because I will always wander first to the Hunting and Armor Wing* to see the hooded falcons display. I love my birds of prey.

*The WeltMuseum, or Ethnography Museum is part of the Kunsthistoriches Museum but housed across the street in Neue Burg, the incomplete wing of the imperial palace that is home to ancient musical instruments, arms and armor, and the Ephesos Museum (antiquities discovered by Austrian archaeologists in ancient Turkey and Greece). One can wander freely between the collections on a single ticket (or in my case, the annual pass).

The Ethnography Museum, as one might infer, displays stuff gathered along the travels of Archduke Ferdinand II and Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s around the world journey, along with notable tchtochkes picked up by other explorers in the name of the empire.

Moving along.

The temporary exhibit, Verhüllt, Enthüllt! (Covered, Uncovered!) invited more than a dozen artists to present their perspectives and, I think, tried to cover too much ground in too little space.

“For Christians, the veil represents modesty and virginity…The covered head belongs to the privilege of married women as well as to the nun’s habit.” 

And the Virgin Mary.

During the authoritarian Austrian state and National Socialism the headscarf and Dirndl were exemplified as conveying the simple values of the homeland. “In the 1950s, the printed headscarf stands as a fashion accessory for luxury, elegance and emancipation. Step by step, the power relations in gender relations are questioned. It was not until 1976 that the patriarchal model of marriage in Austria was replaced by the principle of equal treatment or partnership by law.”

The Keffiyeh appeared briefly, described as protection against sun, wind and sand. Brief mention was given to its evolution as a primarily Arab headscarf; and zero mention was made of the hypocrisy of allowing men to wear headscarves in public while women are not afforded the same decency.

It was noted with little comment that headscarves were fashionable in the 1950s; and that QEII wears a Hermès headscarf as her personal branding to this day.

And scattered in between was a collection of headscarves displayed like textile jewels.

All in all, an interesting and moderately informative exhibit. Plus, I got to see my birds of prey.