TRC volunteer, Loren Mealey, writes on Thursday, 3 January 2019:
In our twenty-first century, fashion appears to change every week. A man’s necktie, however, is an accessory that has endured social and cultural transformations for hundreds of years.
The traditional Western necktie has ancient antecedents and forms. The earliest representation of a piece of cloth or another material tied around the neck is a cloth worn by the first emperor of China, Shih Huan Ti, who died in 210 BC. The accessory was depicted in his mausoleum in Xian, along with 7000 images of his warriors, meticulously carved in terracotta, and each wearing a neck cloth.
In Europe the large ruffs worn by men and women from the mid-sixteenth century for over a hundred years became iconic items in paintings of royalty and affluent merchants. Then came bandanas, bands, bolos, cravats, steinkirks, rabats, ties and all sorts of variations. But from ancient China to the red carpet of fashion shows, this men's wear accessory is consistently associated with identity, power and status.
The TRC Leiden is developing a unique and exciting exhibition for 2020 entitled “Ties to History.” We are seeking ties, in all their many different forms, from all ages and parts of the world, worn by men who have influenced how we live. Their ties to history and their stories of influence will be exhibited, as well as the history and evolution of the necktie.