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In the works of sculpture and painting, drapery refers to the robes that cover the human body.

Visual arts

One of the main requirements that the fine arts placed on aesthetically beautiful clothing for a long time was that it should reveal the shapes and movements of the body in a relaxed manner.


For this purpose, the folds must be arranged in such a way that they correspond to the motif presented on the living body, the taste of the time and the meaning of the person depicted: natural, historically faithful and ideal garb. Above all, the drapery must not have any sharply broken lines, because the angular lines and the resulting sharp light and shadow effects cannot reflect the fleshy, rounded body shapes. On the other hand, the folds must then not be placed the same or arranged parallel, which would give the impression of rigidity. If one wishes to let the body shape stand out strongly, then one uses the so-called wet clothes, which fit closely to the body. Opposite to them is the wide drapery, arranged in rich folds.


In painting one still had to pay attention to the correct distribution of light and shadow. The painter made his clothing studies based on a living figure or a wooden figure, the so-called limb man , which he dressed in the piece of clothing and placed in the intended position.

Costume as historical clothing

Today, the word “garb” usually means the costume in a live role-playing game or the historical (especially medieval) clothing in the area of living history . By delimiting the term “costume”, the role players and living history actors want to distance themselves from the perceived silliness of a carnival costume and the inaccuracy of a theatrical costume . Strictly speaking, both are hardly appropriate, since on the one hand the range from careless and quickly improvised to historically authentic or very elaborately designed garments is very wide and on the other hand the term "costume" is used for the precise and serious description of everyday clothing (cf. . Costume customer ).

Live role players and medieval actors often take the view that their clothes are of better quality, because they usually have to spend a few days in these clothes , so they are of the opinion that a garment is characterized by a certain durability and suitability for everyday use compared to carnival or theater costumes. Of course, this only applies to very simple carnival costumes, not to the often very elaborate costumes of those in the prince's guards and carnival groups or the splendid costumes for the Venice carnival . In the case of the theater sector, it is also often overlooked that theatrical costumes have to be made for a whole series of performances and should meet the special requirements of a stage performance.

In the Middle Ages, particular attention is paid to the use of natural materials such as linen and wool in contrast to synthetic fabrics. Reconstructed sections and templates based on excavation finds or secondary sources serve as templates.

A drapery in the parlance of live role players and medieval performers things are counted sometimes that do not belong directly to the clothing - including armor , upholstery or stage combat Weapons and various accessories and utensils of the game character, or middle age actor. The costume design as an auxiliary science of theater studies and art history does not extend the concept costume in this direction, there are such items as props .

Individual evidence

  1. Ina Dahm: LARP - entry into a fantastic hobby . Zauberfeder, Braunschweig 2013, ISBN 978-3-938922-38-5 .