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There were three main farming systems in late medieval Hungary. The most modern one was the threefold rotational system in the Transdanubian area, some parts of the Felvidék and the borderlines of the Great Plain in the 14th century. In these places the significance of agriculture preceded that of animal husbandry, and animals were kept in stables. Regulated soil changing was used in the Great Plain, which was a system of agriculture and animal husbandry at the same time, and animals were kept in the open air in fields. In the woodlands of the Felvidék and Transdanubia lands were cultivated all the time; these fertilised lands were called torunoklands. A two-way rotational system was probably not used.

In the threefold rotational system lands near the villages were cultivated: in one part autumn cereals, in another part spring cereals were sown, and the third part was not under cultivation, and called the waste land. During the regulated soil changing system territories used for cultivation and animal husbandry were changed every 2-5 years in a changing rhythm. The name of the land used for grazing ground was fallow land or field. Torunoklands were right behind the gardens, and they included only a part of the village land, the other part being cultivated in the rotational system.

On the lands cereals were grown according to the climate. Gardens were practically cabbage gardens, and fruits were very rare. Woods, fishing lakes, and vineyards did not belong to the estate, and they were commonly used by the whole village. Vineyards were considered waste lands because of the great amount of work they required, and different taxes and juristic regulations were used here, which were very suitable for villeins. Vineyards were on the so-called hills, but storage and processing buildings were not widespread in the country: only pressing was done on the hill, all other work being done at village or town houses where wine was also stored.

In the southern part of the country, in Transylvania and in the Eastern Carpathians Rumanians and Rutenians, privileged with the vlach right, used moving animal husbandry in the mountains, and their main animals were sheep and goats. They paid a sheep fiftieth tax owing to their different economic system.


Different professions were separated in Hungary at the beginning of the Árpád age. Although farming and handicraft activities - which were typical both in cities and villages - were also separated, in 15th-16th-century towns people dealt with farming, too. To be more specific, they grew wine and cereals, but animal husbandry was also general. Bigger towns (Buda, Fehérvár, Esztergom, Veszprém) were surrounded by a significant number of settlements.

The origins of the first guilds in Hungary can be traced back to the end of the 13th century, but most of the guilds were already established by the end of the 14th century. Data referring to the professions of medieval people has survived in the street names of towns, names of parts of towns, family names and charters. Contemporary documents mentioned Smith street in Kassa and Sopron; Goldsmith, Cutter and Taylor streets in Buda; Grinder and Baker street in Fehérvár. Potters had their own street in Bártfa, skin dressers and wheelwrights in Kassa, wheelers, weavers in Buda, and locksmiths and knife-makers in Pozsony.

The names and profession of several artisans were mentioned in city charters. In the medieval Fehérvár they mentioned: a miller, a painter, a turner, a weaver, a tailor, a sword-maker, a locksmith, a saddle-maker, a cloth-maker, a copper smoulder, and a shoemaker. In Sopron knife-makers, sword-grinders, smiths, tradesmen, butchers, goldsmiths, money-minters, tinmen, bow-makers, locksmiths, copper-smiths, turners, fire-makers and rosary-makers were mentioned. In Buda there were cloth-makers, cutters, money-minters, bow-makers, knife-makers, tailors, spur-makers, tinmen, beer-makers, millers, fishermen, shoemakers, carpenters, stone-cutters, painters and coopers.

Generally the representatives of different professions worked in a separate part of the medieval town. This is shown by the street names referring to professions. The representatives of certain branches of industry (smiths, potters, skin-dressers, coopers, wheelers, weavers) had to move to the suburbs because of the danger of fire or their demands for large spaces or areas of water. Medieval workshops of artisans - in spite of the appearance of guilds - were relatively small, and their technological development was slow.

According to tax records, at least 20-25 % of the inhabitants of medieval towns dealt with industries; and this proportion was bigger in western-European cities: 50-70 %. The most important industry was clothes-making (furrier, tailor, shoemaker), but the metal- and military industry also played an important role. One of the most popular professions was the goldsmith's, which served luxurious purposes. There were copper-, silver-, and goldsmiths, and money-minters among them, and even picture-painters belonged to their guild. Many of them were engaged in changing money and finance. At the beginning of the 15th century several members of the jury, and even the judge of Buda, Judge Harber were goldsmiths.

At first the centre of this profession was Buda, since there were a lot of rich customers here due to the church and secular accumulation of treasure. Later the goldsmiths of Kassa, Kolozsvár, Nagyszeben, Brasso and other towns became famous masters in the country. The so-called wire enamel technique, which was used and developed in Hungary, became widespread in the country, and different products, especially chalices with rich motifs, were decorated with this technique.

According to archaeological data and the history of places we can state that in Buda goldsmiths lived in the Goldsmith street, in Cloth-maker street, Italian street, Saturday-market street, in the street north of the Church of Our Lady, near St John Franciscan monastery and near St George church. Objects referring to the activity of goldsmiths were found in many places of Sopron and Székesfehérvár.

The most beautiful examples of the work of medieval goldsmiths were baptising pools and church bells made in the 15th-16th centuries. One of the most famous bronze-casting workshop was in Igló (Neudorf, Spisska Nova Ves, castle district Szepes, today Slovakia). The founder of the workshop, Conrad Gaal cast the big bell of Visegrád, by the order of king Louis the Great in 1357. We have data about the activity of the Igló workshop until 1516. Almost all bells and baptising pools in the Szepesség were made there. The baptising pools of Gyöngyös, Bártfa, Kisselyk and Brasso are among the most beautiful medieval monuments.

One of the most typical medieval professions was tin-casting. In Sopron in the 15th century there were eight casting houses - in accordance with the latest research. Tin dishes (cans, jugs, plates, cups, flasks and washing equipment), candle-holders and even bullets were made there.

In important towns there were knife-makers everywhere. According to scarce written sources they also worked in Kassa, Lőcse, Szeben, Pozsony, Buda and Sopron. In spite of this fact - in accordance with archaeological observations - high-quality knives made by masters in Austria and Nürnberg were widespread. Long medieval knives with thin blades were very popular; their hafts were made of bones or wood, and there were signs on them referring to the master and place of manufacture.

More and more people could afford buying nice glass cups and bottles, and used glass in their windows - which was then very expensive - to protect themselves from the cold and windy weather. The windows of buildings, especially churches, consisted of small glass pieces framed in tin structures.

There were glass makers in the 14th century in Bars-Szklenó, near Selmecbánya and Körmöcbánya, where bottles, jars and plates were produced. In all probability, there were more glass-making places in the 15th century, primarily in mining areas with wooded areas, in the Felvidék, Transylvania and other places. Near Diósjenő in county Nógrád the ruins of a glass-making factory were found.

A source from 1419 mentioned a Buda citizen, Anthony Olasz, who dealt with glass-making, but it is quite obvious that many more people were engaged in this activity. During the 15th-16th centuries marvellous glass products were being made (cans, jars, bottles, cups and goblets).

One of the most typical contemporary dishes, the bottle - originating from the east, with round bottom, long, thin neck and wide, funnel-like mouth - must have been produced in Germany in the 15th century, and in Hungary at the beginning of the 16th century. It was used for storing oil necessary for mass or other church ceremonies. In Transylvania people drank 'cherry wine' from it. Its one- or two-pipe variants, or spiral neck variants are also known.

Fine Venetian glasses were imported to medieval Hungary in great quantities. Goblets and stemmed glasses had a marvellous finish and were beautifully made. Glasses were very popular, and had various forms, as the Italian name implies ("incostatis", "de mucolis incostatis" = various).

The most popular findings of archaeological excavations were ceramic pots or their fragments. The family names Cserep and Cserepes [potter] was already used in the 14th-15th centuries; in 1438 the name of Michael Fazekgyarto [potmaker] was recorded in a charter, and in 1504 the name Gallus Fazekgyarto. Apart from these, family names Fazekas [potter], Gerencsér, Korsós, Téglás and Téglaégető [all connected to pottery] and the variants of these were of medieval origin. One of the brickmakers living in Buda had the name Ziegelfuser.

Expressive place names, connected to pottery, were of medieval origin: Agyagosbérc, Agyagpáva, Agyagtelök, Agyagverem and Agyagszó. The pots of 15th-16th-century potters were made on revolving discs, manipulated by foot. One of the most widespread type of ceramics was the stove tile. Onion-shaped, glass-shaped and square (at the mouth) tiles were the most popular ones. The colour of the burnt-out clay was red, white and grey in this period.

Stove tiles with a yellow and green glazing were of several types, and represented buildings (castle), parts of buildings (copies of windows) religious scenes, coats-of-arms, shield animals, ornaments and contemporary persons (women's heads, knights), and animals of tales, legends and myths.

The royal workshop of the 15th century was very famous, on the stove of which king Sigismund's coat-of-arm and his palace were represented along with other beautifully made tiles. The stove representing the "Three kings", made around 1469-1473, might have been the work of one of the best masters of contemporary Europe. A stove reconstruction from the first third of the 15th century and the famous knight stove (1554-1557) prove the artistic skills of the masters of the period.

Other typical objects of the age were grey casting moulds for goldsmiths and distillers. The most widespread kitchen dishes were various white, grey and red lids and pots (the pots were decorated with rib shapes on the outside), and there were three-legged pots with handles, which were glazed inside. Grey Austrian imported pots were also popular. Fine products were thin, white goblets decorated with engraved lines or rib shaped or white, yellow or red jugs and jars. Mugs were red, grey and yellow, and they often had a loop. Among glazed dishes found in Buda there were decorated or painted cups and hand-washers; as well as a lot of German and Czech ceramic fragments.

An important element of medieval everyday life was the use of water power. Water was pumped into castles (Esztergom) or buildings (Fehérvár) into high places with the help of various lifting devices. Machines using water power helped miners or industrial equipment. However, the most popular machines using water power were mills. They could be found along brooks and rivers everywhere, and mill ships floating on water were also a usual sight. In the 15th-16th century there were several mills in bigger towns (Asszonypataka, Bakabánya, Beszterce, Buda, Esztergom, Fehérvár, Igló, Kassa...etc.). Grain was ground with water power and big mill stones, but small grinding stones for hand-grinding were also used.

Contemporary bakers had their shops in every town, but usually in the suburbs because of the danger of fire. Village bakers also played an important role, but there were wandering bakers, too, who had mobile, portable ovens. Bread was made without leaven. In the 15th century the Law book of Buda mentioned rolls and fine bread, but the poor ate brown bread. Baker's products were also sold at markets: in Buda and Pozsony bakers had to sign their products with Roman numbers. The family name 'Pereces' [petzel] appeared in charters after 1424, and the name 'Pék' (of German origin) [baker] also spread in the 15th-16th centuries. From a 1484 charter the Zsemlesütő [roll baker] street of Fehérvár is known. In 1487 in Buda, roll baking master John Babocsai and his partner, Caspar Zsemlesütő - who became a member of the jury of the town in 1503 - were mentioned.

There were several butchers in each medieval Hungarian town. Their activities were broader than those of today's butchers'. The selling of cattle abroad - the Hungarian cattle trade was quite significant - also fell into their range of activities. Their guilds were the richest in the cities. With their physical strength they kept order in the city, and as they travelled constantly, they often worked as postmen. It is therefore clear why the butchers of Debrecen received postal privileges in 1478 and 1512. The meat market of medieval Fehérvár was situated in the territory of Vicus Teutonicalis (German street), but there were also butcher's kiosks in the market place, some of which were next to the houses.


Basic education was provided by chapter, town or parish schools. There are numerous examples of these schools in various parts of the country, so we can be sure that by the end of the 15th century the country had a relatively uniform school network. However, there may have been a tremendous difference between schools: in most schools in villages or market towns the parish priest was the teacher, himself, or a secular teacher ('magister ludi', or 'rector scolae'), who had gained his education in a similar school.

Chapter schools provided high-quality education, where the library supplied the students with the necessary spiritual background. In these schools students usually went on to follow a church carrier, but the number of students who did not want to be a cleric gradually increased; in some towns the chapter and the town maintained a common school. In the first grades reading and writing and elementary Latin was taught to young students, who were also taught by older students chosen for such work.

Latin grammar was taught from Donatus' Grammatics. Students had to study and learn the parts by heart. This book contained the basic grammar in the form of questions and answers. On the basis of the examples of the book students had to practise the declination of words. Besides this the students participated in singing lessons, and learnt the calendar verses necessary for calculating the dates of certain feasts. After acquiring a basic knowledge, in the middle grades students were taught the scientific system of Latin grammar, logic and Latin as a language.

After several years of learning, in the upper grades of the school students were given individual training, according to individual needs, and student groups were organised. In addition to this older students took part in the education of younger students. The method of teaching and the curriculum were the same in chapter schools and town schools, the difference being only in proportions: in town schools the emphasis was on secular things. The so-called Szalkai codex, Ladislaus Szalkai's school exercise books bound together, gave a good picture of what a clever student could achieve in the upper grades of the school - as Ladislaus Szalkai born into a craftsman's family in Mátészalka and later became the Archbishop of Esztergom proved.

When Szalkai attended the town school - he was 14-16 years old when he wrote his exercise books - he could speak good Latin, and also had beautiful handwriting. In his six exercise books he copied and made notes on the material of the upper grades: the first contained calendar calculations, astronomy and medical science, the second music theory, the third the juristic expressions of family and kinship relations. The fourth and fifth contained his literary studies, but the most important and most detailed material, the composition of letters, was in the sixth. The verbal explanations of the dean were written in the margin, next to the main text.

A degree from a chapter school was enough for a student to get a job as a school master or clerk. One did not have to go to university to acquire the customary law used in everyday life, as it could be acquired in practice, initially at royal chancelleries or in courts of law. During his work a student who spoke Latin well could gain the necessary knowledge with the help of his experienced colleagues. With this knowledge he could get a job at a credible place, or in the service of a baron or a town. The so-called formulariums, that is collections of charter samples, which were compiled on the basis of typical charters, helped in the practical training of lawyers.

Those who wanted to go to university, had to go abroad - except for some decades. Hungarian students usually went to the university of Vienna or Krakow, which were quite near. However, from the second half of the 15th century more and more Hungarian people chose Italian universities - primarily in Padua or Bologne. In the register of students and other records of Krakow university 3,000 Hungarian students were mentioned between 1400 and 1536. To accommodate them, a Polish nobleman, Nicolaj Bielonski, founded a separate bursa. The students of the university of Vienna were divided into four natios, nations - one of these was the Hungarian natio, but all eastern European students belonged to this one.

The majority of students could not afford attending to university for a course lasting several years - as it was very expensive - so were not able to finish their studies. They usually graduated from the faculty of humanities, the aim of which was to study the so-called 'seven free arts', to gain the necessary knowledge for further education. After two years of studies they could get a baccalaureate degree, and after two more years they could reach the degree 'artium magister'. With the latter degree one could start to study law, theology or medicine. Hungarian students who studied further usually chose law, their knowledge being required in diplomacy and at church courts.

At the beginning of 1465 king Matthias asked Pope Paul II to give permission for the foundation of a university in Hungary in a proper town. The reason for the request was that because of great distances not all the talented young persons could go abroad to study. On 18 July, 1467, the Archbishop of Esztergom, John Vitéz sent a letter to Pozsony, in which he declared that from king Matthias's will and with the agreement of the Pope a university was to be established in the town. The Academia Istropolitana was the third experiment to found a university in Hungary: the first one being at Pécs, during Louis the Great's reign, and the second being a university set up in Óbuda during king Sigismund's reign, but both of them were closed after a couple of years.

The university of Pozsony fared no better than its predecessors: education started in 1467, and the first professors were the famous humanist scientists of the age, such as Johannes Regiomontanus the well-known German mathematician-astronomer, this did not prevent its closure after some years. The fact that its founder, organiser and the first chancellor, Archbishop John Vitéz organised a plot against the king in 1471 also sealed the fate of the university. Later on king Matthias supported the college of the Dominican order in Buda, the studium generale, but no university was formed from this institution.


Holidays and Weekdays

The everyday life of people was regulated by written and unwritten laws. In the traditional system of medieval Hungarian law the emphasis was on unwritten, that is customary law, and written law was relegated to second place. Hungarian customary law was written down at the beginning of the 1500s by Stephen Werbőczy, judge of the country, in a book entitled Triple Book, first published in 1517. Alongside sources of law, which were used in the whole country, there were also town or county statutes. These regulated the legal procedures of the local community, but there they were used for everything else too.

In the most important Hungarian town book, in the law book of Buda, the order of market sales were described in detail, in the same way a town was regulated. The law book also regulated the celebration of holidays: courts of justice and shops were closed on Sundays and on holidays, and taverns could only be opened after the main service. Those who worked in the fields on holidays had to pay a 1 mark fine. In their law book the citizens of Buda followed church regulations, as the believers had two duties on holiday days: they had to attend the service and stop menial work.

Usually the church synods decided on the dates of the feasts. In 1493 the synod of Esztergom and in 1515 the synod of Veszprém took steps to regulate the celebration of more than 50 feasts (plus Sundays), but the number of feasts really celebrated was far below the number declared by the resolutions of synods. The most important feasts were Christmas, Easter and the days of patron saints of the church. The procession was also a significant event in the church year - even the king, and his court took part in the one in Buda.

People's sense of the passing of time was insecure and inaccurate. Years were identified by an outstanding event - such as a war, the king's succession to the throne or his death -, but days were related to feasts following each other. The Hungarian names of months in the Middle Ages were defined by the first significant feast of the given month (for example, St Jacob's month, St Michael's month... etc.). The days when agricultural products were to be handed over were also connected to church feasts, just as were deadlines at courts.

The change in people's notion of time began with a new invention, which could measure time punctually: the clock. Before the invention of the clock the passing of time was shown by the Sun, and time was measured by so-called canon hours, or praying hours, which divided the day into a 12-hour day and a 12-hour night. Wheel clocks appeared in Hungary at the end of the 14th century. At the end of the 15th century and at the beginning of the 16th century a clock tower struck the hours in Besztercebánya, Pozsony, Sopron, Kassa, Bártfa, Nagyszeben, on the cathedral of Várad and Eger and on the archbishopric palace of Esztergom. Although sources make no mention of it, there must have been a clock near the Magdalena church of Buda.


From the second half of the 15th century more and more written sources, contemporary illustrations, and even some original pieces of clothing have survived, but the identification of clothes mentioned in the source material or the validity of illustrations are questionable in several cases. The dual style of Hungarian dressing habits - wearing eastern- and western-type clothes in the same period - changed slightly, yet remained typical. Easter-type clothes - primarily Cuman - were replaced by special Hungarian ones, as contemporary foreign sources mention.

The most detailed descriptions originate from the descriptions of different royal celebrations - weddings, peace contracts, kings' meetings. Eye-witnesses took notes and ministers wrote reports on Matthias's 1476 wedding, the kings' meeting at Olmüc or Iglau, the march into Vienna or Bécsújhely and Ulaslo II and Anna of Candale's wedding, and in each case they gave a detailed description of the pompous, richly decorated clothes made of expensive textiles, and the valuable jewels, weapons and harnesses of the king and his escort.

In December 1476 Matthias welcomed his fiancée near Fehérvár in a short coat decorated with pearls, and a gown also embroidered with pearls. When they marched solemnly to Buda, he wore a cloak decorated with precious stones, and at the wedding lunch had a yellow gown on his shoulders which had a sable lining. At the coronation ceremony in Székesfehérvár his bride, Beatrix, wore a red and gold brocade dress made according to the latest Italian fashion. When entering Buda she wore a blue dress and a guilt gown, and at the wedding lunch she wore a red dress woven with gold thread, which was decorated with sable. The clothes of Hungarian noblemen, who appeared at the wedding, were also very elegant: Nicholas Újlaki's clothes, for example, were decorated with gold, silver, pearl and precious stones.

According to sources, Matthias was also concerned about the clothes of his escort. According to the reports of the minister of Boroszló, he arrived in Fehérvár at the lead of 3,000 knights. The pages of the king wore clothes made of yellow, grey, green and brown velvet. The minister of Ferrara, Cesare Valentini, gave a detailed description about the kings' meeting at Iglau (1486), at which he admired the clothes and weapons of the escort and Hungarian noblemen. Matthias also put great emphasis on military clothes. He provided his army with not only proper weapons and armour, but also supplied them with sheepskin fur coats and gloves.

Men's Clothes

Descriptions which focused on the difference between the clothes worn by the Hungarians and those worn by western European people were very valuable. On the basis of sources we can state that in the 15th century in Hungary people wore special clothes. It was known about Pipo Ozorai, king Matthias's famous commander and ispán [bailiff] of Temes, that despite his Italian origins he dressed like a Hungarian: he had a long beard, shoulder-length hair, and his clothes reached the ground, "according to the habits of those people". The minister of the Prince of Milan also warned his lord that his representatives should wear long clothes, since at king Matthias's court short clothes, made according to Italian-Burgundian fashion, are not preferred.

Men's clothes in Hungary in the 15th century consisted of a shirt and trousers as underwear, and a dolman worn over them, as well as a short fur-lined or sheepskin coat. At special occasions people wore gowns made of expensive materials, and these preferred by Ozorai too. Hungarian people had unique hair styles and wore high (fur) caps. Their trousers were simple in general, only their colour being unusual, but the dolman covered the greater part of the trousers. The Hungarian shirt - according to the description of Hippolit Estei, archbishop of Esztergom, then bishop of Eger - was long, folded at the neck, and on the basis of both written sources and illustrations, was decorated with embroidery on the neck, chest and the end of the sleeves.

The dolman, worn over the shirt, was often made of silk or velvet, or sometimes fur for rich people, but it was worn by everybody in a less elegant form. The dolman usually reached down to the knees, but according to Cesare Valentini's notes, Hungarian noblemen wore short upper clothes, that is dolmans, for riding. There are only a few descriptions of fur-lined coats, but several sources mentioned sheep-skin coats. King Matthias wore a decorated coat on his shoulders, that is a fur-lined coat, on one of the days of his wedding.

The most typical Hungarian item of clothing was the sheep-skin coat. It was worn by everyone, from the king to the shepherd, the only difference being in the material and style of sewing. The Hungarian sheep-skin coat had buttons at the front, and it was a long cloak or gown with fur lining inside. The fur coat of the king or dignitaries was made of brocade and silk with ermine or sable fur. The employees of the royal chamber wore beech marten-skin coats, and guards wore sheep-skin coats, but the shepherd of the Archbishop of Esztergom also received a sheep-skin coat - according to Hippolit Estei's book of accounts.

There were different caps and hats for different clothing. Hungarian-type caps had an embroidered or fur rim and a feather decoration with pearls and precious stones in the middle. Hungarian hair styles were also different from the European fashion: as it was mentioned about Pipo Ozorai, in Hungary long hair and a long beard were common. In 1489 in Milan, Matthias's minister Moses Buzai, produced a sensation, when he wore his hair in long plaits decorated with pearls. Boots, which were considered typically Hungarian, appeared first in the 15th century, under Turkish influence.

From the first half of the 15th century the armour of the members of the heavy cavalry consisted of a plate armour covering the whole body and the necessary weapons. Palatine Emeric Szapolyai and his brother, Stephen, and Thomas Tarcai, Matthias's famous commander, were represented in such an armour on Emeric Szapolyai's tombstone in Csütörtökhely. The clothes of the members of light cavalry were totally different: by the turn of the 15th-16th centuries Hungarian hussar-type clothes appeared as a result of Turkish influence, which consisted of a long gown, a hat with an ostrich feather decoration and Turkish boots. The earliest hussar illustration survived from around 1500 on a sabre, but we could find hussars on cuts representing Emperor Maximilian's life.

The main weapons of heavy cavalry were the spear and the sword, which might have been supplemented by the dagger and the club. War spears were about 4 meters long, and they were hung onto a hook on the breast plate during attacks. The hands of the knight were protected by a big round disk, and this also ensured the safest position for holding the spear. In the 15th century swords became larger - in order to be more effective against plate armour -, the most popular ones being over 1 meter in length. They were heavy and had a double edged blade. In Hungary a special type of club, the so-called feathered club was used, and according to written sources there was also a special Hungarian dagger.

The weapons of the light cavalry in the 15th century were the sabre, the spear and the bow, but clubs or battle axes were also used. The most widespread type of sabre was the hussar sabre, copied from Turkish models. It had a single blade, which was slightly curved, and its hilt was straight and wide. Hungarian sabres with curved hilts turned up in the 16th century, and they became the most popular weapons. Warriors both in the heavy and light cavalry used shields to protect themselves. Shields were usually made of wood, with their surface covered with leather or linen, but the hussars often used small, round shields woven from reeds.

Women's Clothes, Jewels

Women's clothes did not change much during the 15th century. They consisted of two parts: a shirt, underwear, and a dress, as upper clothes, which was called skirt. The dress was cut around the neck, so the neck of the shirts - which was visible - was decorated with embroidery and pearls. Women in cities wore dresses with closed necks. Women's hair was covered by veils or scarves, and only unmarried girls could go out without covering their heads. In cold weather a cloak was worn over the dress, but according to sources there were sheep-skin coats for women too.

There is substantial information about the clothes of three queens: Beatrix, Anna of Candale and Maria Habsburg. Only written sources reported about the clothes of the first two queens, but one of the elegant items of clothing belonging to Maria, Louis II's wife is the treasure of the Hungarian National Museum. Maria's wedding dress was a deeply cut, green, silk-damask dress, and she wore a white linen shirt under it, which was decorated with silver embroidery on the neck and sleeves. The material of the dress was made in Italy and it was made in accordance with the latest German renaissance fashion of the beginning of the 16th century - which was just about to form.

Queens usually had dresses made according to Italian, French or German fashions. However, in the 15th century there was a special Hungarian dress - which was very difficult to restore. In 1457 Ladislaus V sent a Hungarian dress to his French fiancée, Princess Magdalena, and similarly Matthias gave a Hungarian dress to Beatrix, then to his son's fiancée, Bianca Maria Sforza. Typical Hungarian clothes were sheep-skin coats with fur and the pearled Hungarian head-dress, which was also given to Beatrix by Matthias.

Clothes were supplemented with decorative jewels for both sexes. We have detailed descriptions about Matthias's and Beatrix's jewels, none of which have survived. Cesare Valentini mentioned Matthias's ruby-pearl crest. His clothes were decorated with precious stones and a necklace with precious stones and pearls. In 1499 Beatrix took orders concerning her ruby-pearled brooch and gold necklace decorated with diamonds and emeralds. Barons also had such valuable jewels: Michael Újlaki, the Bosnian king, wore a gold necklace at Matthias's wedding, and the locket hanging from it was decorated with a huge sapphire stone and 300 smaller diamonds.

There are several testaments concerning jewels: in the testament of Moses Buzai - who caused a sensation with his unusual hair style with pearls - a valuable gold necklace, precious stones and rings are mentioned among others. As well as the jewels in Buzai's testament (he was a landowner in county Tolna), there was a treasure find, excavated in Tolna. Gold-plated silver dishes and jewels were hidden from the Turks in the 16th century. The owners of these must have been wealthy local tradesmen. Gold-plated silver renaissance jewels - belt and dress hooks, a hanger with a grenade apple decoration, and a fragment of a necklace were found among the treasure.


There were big changes in Hungarian homes during the 15th century: the number of pieces of furniture increased, and new pieces of furniture appeared, which were made to a high technological standard. As well as furniture made by timber-work, the production of furniture made by joinery started in this period. Joiners appeared in Buda at the beginning of the 15th century, and by the end of the century joiners' guilds were formed in each significant town. For example, in Kassa, in 1459, they had a common guild with wheelwrights and turners.

The most important piece of furniture was the chest, which was used for storing different things: articles of consumption, textiles and agricultural products. Besides this it was used as a seat: according to Mrs Kottaner's memoirs, on top of the chest made for storing the crown there were velvet pillows - probably to make sitting more comfortable. Cottage-shape chests, which were made as timber-work and followed German fashion, were used only for storage. They appeared in Hungary from the beginning of the 15th century. One of the most beautiful examples of these was found in Rozsonda, near Nagyszeben, and its value lies in its figurative decoration.

In the second half of the century a new piece of furniture appeared - the wardrobe. It was made by putting a chest on its side or putting two chests one on top of the other. On one of the boards of the altar of Jánosrét there were two pieces of furniture next to each other, both of them stood on a base. The development of furniture making is shown by a bookshelf made in 1480 for the St Egyed church of Bártfa, which was recessed to the wall in its original place. Wall-cupboards were made at several places in this period: only the doors of the cupboard and the frame around the boot being made of wood.

In this period tables, which could be put together or taken apart became permanent pieces of furniture. Several illustrations of tables have survived from the 15th century: on tableaus it is possible to see tables covered with table-cloths, and these tables were either square or round. The earliest Gothic tables have survived from the end of the 15th century, and the beginning of the 16th century. They were the so-called 'cradle' tables, which looked like cradles and had a lower storage section, or they had big drawers. The back of beds at the head and legs also became popular at that time, and from the second half of the 15th century baldachin above the head became widespread.

According to tableaus there were various pieces of furniture used for sitting. The simplest one was the cross-legged wooden bench, on which several people could sit at the same time, but there were three-legged round or square chairs too. There were chairs with woven sitting parts, with or without backs, and armchairs were made for wealthy customers. Armchairs could have high square shape backs or they were diagonally joint (usually folding) 'scissor-chairs'. From the middle of the 15th century a new piece of furniture also appeared in churches, the stallum.

There are hardly any data about the furniture of royal palaces, but there was a quite detailed description of Matthias's library at Buda, and the furniture at his famous dinners. In the library room there were three-legged chairs covered with guilded blankets, and the books were placed into bookcases decorated with inlays or they lay on bookshelves in rows of three. At Matthias's wedding lunch there was a round table for the royal couple and a ten meter-long table for the guests in the Friss palace. Dishes could be seen on one large and eight smaller cupboards, on which there were about a thousand gold and silver dishes. The royal cupboard was guarded by two big silver unicorns.

From among Matthias's table decorations the most beautiful were the animal-shaped dishes, a marvellous silver ship, the pure gold dishes of the royal couple and Matthias's pepper-mill, which was supported by two lion figures. However, only a very few of these have survived, and only a couple of silver goblets, and the most valuable of what are known only from descriptions. However, some pieces from the china-set of the royal couple have fortunately survived, as did two glasses from Matthias's set.

It was not only the ruler who had valuable table dishes. In Moses Buzai's testament a lot of cups, plates and bowls were mentioned. He had more than one hundred spoons, which were very rare at the beginning of the 15th century. He also had 16 forks, which was a brand new thing at the end of the century. His coral pepper-mill might also have been a valuable piece - he may have bought it abroad. Ambrus Sárkány from Ákosháza was a well-known person in the Jagello age, whose treasures were found at Kölesd in the previous century. Six pieces are known from the guilded silver findings: a goblet with lid, a cup and four drinking cups.

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