A living doll
November 18, 2011 9:26 AM   Subscribe

The Decorated Bride - "In Lubinje, a small, picturesque village of 3500 inhabitants, a few hours from Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, members of the Trebesh community live in colorful houses. They also have a colorful custom - or rite - of beautifying brides on their wedding day."
posted by madamjujujive (46 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Btw, took the name of the town from the blog post, but a Google search gives the name as Ljubinje, so there might be variance in the spelling. Here are some pics of the town of Ljubinje from TrekEarth.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2011


Wow. How intricate.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2011


WOW!! not what I was expecting. its really beautiful! I wanna be painted like that :)
posted by supermedusa at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2011


Fascinating, thanks mjjj!
posted by carter at 9:52 AM on November 18, 2011


I want to look something like that every day.

...and I'm a guy, who works in a regular office.

It'd be neat. People might think I was a superhero or something, and then they'd be afraid of me.

Or they'd think I was insane.

Either way, they'd be afraid of me, and I'd look awesome.

Which is sufficient, I think.
posted by aramaic at 9:53 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very intricate indeed, but I bet the groom gets to have his face unadorned so he can eat and communicate unhindered on his big day. This is another example of female subjugation disguised as "beautification."
posted by Renoroc at 9:53 AM on November 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Beautiful!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2011


I find the ritualized beautification of people kind offputting. Conceptually, how is being covered from head to toe in brocade and pain any different than a niqab. This isn't any sort of enhancement of supposed natural beauty, this is a complete paint job enforced by societal customs.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


In an artist's statement, the director said "focus rings and tripods are tools of the oppressor."
posted by chairface at 10:00 AM on November 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Very intricate indeed, but I bet the groom gets to have his face unadorned so he can eat and communicate unhindered on his big day. This is another example of female subjugation disguised as "beautification."

Having worn a similar amount of make-up on several occasions, I never had a problem eating or communicating.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think if women in that culture were required to adorn themselves like that everyday, it would be oppressive, but if its just for the wedding day, its somewhat different. and the bride is certainly smiling!
posted by supermedusa at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very intricate indeed, but I bet the groom gets to have his face unadorned so he can eat and communicate unhindered on his big day. This is another example of female subjugation disguised as "beautification."

Please don't.
posted by katillathehun at 10:03 AM on November 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


I think if women in that culture were required to adorn themselves like that everyday, it would be oppressive, but if its just for the wedding day, its somewhat different. and the bride is certainly smiling!

Come now, we musn't let whether or not someone enjoys something get in the way of telling them it's oppressing them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:04 AM on November 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Okay, derail out of the way, she looks beautiful! And I love the shot of other people smiling as she drives past, like they see her decorations and know she's on her way to her big day. Made me smile, too.
posted by katillathehun at 10:05 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm one of the butchest, most un-makeup'd female-bodied people you could meet anywhere, and I think this is really beautiful. (And I'm with katillathehun - the knowing smiles on the passersby were really sweet.)

And honestly, she's wearing no more makeup than, say, your average drag queen - which has never stopped any of them from having a really good time.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 10:09 AM on November 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I like the idea of "beautifying." Anything. Period. And if it involves the whole community...I like it double plus.
posted by nickjadlowe at 10:29 AM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am looking at this purely from the artistic, decorative and folkloric angle and I find it mesmerizing and gorgeous.

But I think Renoroc and Ad hominem have valid points. There is something a bit weird and off-putting about women being all dolled up like packages on wedding days - although this is but one example. I like this better than what I see in Modern Bride.

Costume, fashion and ritual can have their places - as long as they don't own us.

And maybe more men need to get in on the decorative body arts.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:31 AM on November 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Help I glued sequins to my eyebrows and they won't come off.
posted by longsleeves at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovely!
posted by Specklet at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2011


For me Halloween involves just as much make up plus latex prosthetics and I never have any difficulty partying and socializing.

I wonder how old this tradition is and if it has pre-christian roots.
posted by Gwynarra at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for threadshitting what appeared to be a lovely wedding day/dressup day video. I liked the dreamy focus loss and floppiness of the video work, at points the sharp focus that would just snap in were all the better for it.
posted by NiteMayr at 12:09 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy cats, that is such fine detail! I've worn similar amounts of makeup for bellydance performances, but never so ornate.

This was a great find, thank you for sharing it.
posted by MissySedai at 12:29 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what they used before sequins came on the scene. This troubles me to no end.
posted by ooga_booga at 12:33 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


That is beautiful, and interesting. I was hoping to find more info/photos online to see if the makeup is always the same for every woman, but can't find anything else at all related to this group. Weird.
posted by Safiya at 12:34 PM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I don't care if it is our honeymoon! Do you know how many hours I had to sit there to get this shit on my face?"
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:42 PM on November 18, 2011


This makes me happy. She's breathtaking and obviously pleased. I like how her hair is down in the end.
posted by mochapickle at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


the woman who does her makeup uses both hands (at same time even) with complete ease and assurance.
posted by supermedusa at 1:16 PM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


. Conceptually, how is being covered from head to toe in brocade and pain any different than a niqab

Well, for example, it doesn't prevent you from being able to express yourself, verbally or otherwise; it doesn't inhibit facial expressions; it doesn't prevent you from eating or otherwise interacting with the world; it reflects a desire to beautify rather than obscure; I don't know why you assume it's painful to wear; it's only done for your wedding day, whereas the niqab is worn at all times in public.

So yeah, other than all those differences, I guess it's basically the same.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:23 PM on November 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


The makeup is absolutely exquisite!

Nusja seems very happy, and I hope her happiness extends throughout her marriage. I sometimes think that for many eastern woman the marriage day is the pinnacle of their lives, and it's nothing but work and subjugation after that. The bonds she has with the women in Nusja's life will most likely last her lifetime.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find the ritualized beautification of people kind offputting. Conceptually, how is being covered from head to toe in brocade and pain any different than a niqab. This isn't any sort of enhancement of supposed natural beauty, this is a complete paint job enforced by societal customs.

My wife wore makeup on our wedding day for the second time ever (first was her senior prom). It was probably a karmic misstep to laugh at her obvious misery, because I then had to wear a tuxedo, outdoors, in Miami, in early September.

The terrible indignities we suffer for tradition.
posted by jake at 2:05 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was about to say, that doesn't look that much heavier then what some goths and Larpers I used to hang out with wore. Much more detailed, but they managed to enjoy life without being hindered; doubly so the LARPRS who ran around in the woods hitting each other with foam sticks in that level of makeup.
posted by Canageek at 2:55 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


like Kim Kardashian wasnt wearing that much makeup on her wedding day!!! hopefully Nusja's wedding will be longer and happier :)
posted by supermedusa at 3:13 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


The costumes worn in Mardi Gras parades are even heavier and more elaborate. You can't tell me those people aren't having an awesome time. Getting dressed up is about marking a special day with the extraordinary. I like the filmmaker's capture of the warm, knowing expressions on the faces of the people on the street. I got that feeling I get when I see a woman with a newborn. It's one of the most important moments of her life and she is radiant.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:45 PM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, Batman!
posted by lollusc at 6:36 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Things like this are what give different cultures identity and meaning. Don't get offended because every group of humans doesn't conform to your ideals, people. Admire the obvious care that goes into this, the beauty, and the pageantry. A wedding is an important ceremony; a culture without traditions connected to weddings would be a pathetic one.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:20 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wonderful, and I loved the music. Thanks for the great post.
posted by puddinghead at 8:34 PM on November 18, 2011


So very full of wonderment, MJJJ! Thank you! ♥
posted by Lynsey at 9:57 PM on November 18, 2011


The demon that lives in the air: And honestly, she's wearing no more makeup than, say, your average drag queen - which has never stopped any of them from having a really good time.

Very fabulous indeed, but I bet the emcee gets to have his face unadorned so he can eat and communicate unhindered during the performance. This is another example of transgendered subjugation disguised as "beautification."

Conceptually, how is being covered from head to toe in sequins and pain any different than solitary confinement of political prisoners?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:18 AM on November 19, 2011


BTW (and seriously this time), it's interesting to me that after undergoing this intense and presumably fragile make-over for her Big Day, she then drives herself to the wedding. Myself, I'd ask someone to do that for me, and sit like a fricking statue!

(The street light posts indicate the oncoming traffic lane is to the left, which means the driver is on the left, just in case you're wondering about Kosovo driving sides.)
posted by IAmBroom at 8:25 AM on November 19, 2011


I wonder what they used before sequins came on the scene. This troubles me to no end.

ooga_booga, "bangles" (essentially sequins) made of precious metals have been around for hundreds of years.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2011


I was hoping to find more info/photos online to see if the makeup is always the same for every woman, but can't find anything else at all related to this group.

Safiya, here you go. It's individualized.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:33 AM on November 19, 2011


Thanks, IAmBroom, that got me digging a little further and I found a page by a British wedding photographer who has photos and narrative about his experience taking photos at a Bulgarian wedding in which the bride was painted and costumed similarly.

"The tradition of artificial make-up layering stretches back centuries to the time when men worked as shepherds in the fields.

When the groom arrived to greet his new bride, he might never have had any contact with girls before.

He would see his future wife covered in make-up and then have to remove it slowly – therefore learning to appreciate her beauty slowly and treat her gently."

posted by madamjujujive at 12:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, the people in this village in Kosovo take the bride to the groom's house by horse, someone leads the horse.

As to the pictures of the Pomak wedding in Bulgaria, that was interesting.

The bridal make-up makes

me think of the bridal makeup worn by Hindu and Muslim brides.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:32 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


madamjujujive, that in turn reminds me of an erotic story, in which the narrative voice relates that, in order to prove his gentleness and patience to a new lover, by tradition a man must feed her all the seeds of a pomegranate without breaking any of them.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


More on decorative wedding customs in the Balkans.

Nusja Jone is the name of the song in the video, by the Maramanga Trio. *goes to see if anyone has done a post on jazz in the Balkans yet.*
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:48 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


also I have since fallen in love with Marimango Trio, you can check out their album for free here
posted by supermedusa at 7:16 PM on November 22, 2011


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