Other Garments

St. Birgitta's Hairshirt

After photographs in Andersson and Franzén.

This particular item is a relic belonging to San Marco monastery in Rome, although it can also be found in the small chapel in the room at Piazza Farnese in Rome where St. Birgitta died.  This is possibly the same as Santa Brigida a Campo de'Fiori, which I am told is also a place it can be found.

This shirt is made from a thick brown-black yard made from horse tails and cows tails. It is netted with large loops, possibly made with a needle. The edges are wrapped in cloth, although this may be a later addition.

The shirt is 106 cm (42") wide at the hem (for a bottom circumference of 212 cm (83"). The whole thing is 46 cm (") from shoulder to bottom edge. Under the arms are long, deep slits, probably to facilitate movement. The short sleeves were added on later. The neck hole is squarish.

hairshirt netting design (8064 bytes)
Reconstruction of the netting pattern for the hairshirt. After Andersson and Franzén

Some Sources:

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Some Clothing of the Middle Ages - Other Garments - St. Birgitta's Hairshirt, by I. Marc Carlson, Copyright 1998, 1999, 2002
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