Nightcap (garment)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



A nightcap is a warm cloth cap worn while sleeping, often with pajamas or a nightgown. They were invented in the Middle Ages to hinder propagation of head lice. When people wore wigs, the nightcap became quite popular, as wearers usually had little or no hair and lice assembled in the wig. Nightcaps were also used to keep warm at night. They were common in northern Europe before central heating was available, when homes were cold at night.

Women's night caps usually consisted of a long piece of cloth wrapped around the head. Men's nightcaps were traditionally pointed, with a long top, usually accompanied by a small ball of some sort, which was used similar to a scarf. It kept the neck warm while not being so long that it could wrap around and choke the person wearing it in their sleep.

In Tyburn and Newgate days of the British judicial hanging history, the hood used to hide the prisoner’s final agonies was actually a nightcap supplied by the prisoner themselves, if they could afford it. When they had finished their prayers, the hangman simply pulled it down over their face. In some cases, women might choose a bonnet with a veil instead and in other cases the prisoner possessed or chose neither. From around 1850, a white linen hood was provided by the authorities as part of the execution process.

Most nightcaps currently produced no longer have the pointy addition. They are mainly used by people with hair loss.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nightcap (garment)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools