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The burqa also existed in the Algarve: was the Bioko and gave freedom to women

In the nineteenth century, a former civil governor who did not like to see women all covered up decreed the abolition of the use of the traditional costume of all streets and temples. Now, it was recreated a modern Bioko but the head is uncovered.

The Algarvian woman, just over a century, also used burqa but without religious connotations. In the black cloak that stretched from head to toe and only allowed to see his eyes, he was given the name of Bioko or rebuço. A former civil governor on behalf of the new civilization, decreed that this traditional attire were banned from the streets and temples. Now the Bioko is back in modern version, with other stories to tell.

The former civil governor of Faro, Júlio Lourenço Pinto, born in Porto, saw this garment “traces of Muslim domination” who understood not have reason to exist in the late nineteenth century. Go there, extinguished the Bioko. In his book chronicles the Algarve, published in 1894, explains: This is a “mask” that could lead to certain wantonness. One of the reasons given is related to marital fidelity. Imagine a “fragile sinner” who dressed so as not to be recognized, could throw “without danger loving-novelistic adventure or marital infidelity feat,” he says. So it uses the powers that were conferred to him, decreed: “It is forbidden in the streets and temples of all the villages of this district the use of so-called rebuços or biocos of women to serve hiding his face”, referred to in Article 32 , the Police Regulation district, published on September 6, 1892.

Lourdes Silva, a native of Porto, “fell in love” with the Bioko when he visited the Costume Museum in São Brás de Alportel – where you can find copies of some copies. Love at first sight for a garment, confesses, is not rare. But in this case there was more than that. This professor at the University of the Algarve, in the area in economic and business sciences, felt the need to immerse yourself in the culture of the region. “It took me two years to investigate the history of this piece.” Finally, he decided to share knowledge and began producing biocos putting in the lining of the part, the history of this clothing told in Portuguese and English. In 1922 the book The Fishermen, Raul Brandão said that it was “a mysterious and attractive costume” that fueled speculation. In a passage of the book, referring to the women of Olhão, writes: “When they come out of shrouded in black biocos, look like ghosts. They spend, look at us and we do not see. ”

But what is the relationship with the burqa Bioko? The burqa, says Lourdes Silva, is a “male imposition, here goes to the opposite: the man does not want her to use, but it uses to have more freedom.” Therefore, the three models conceived with Mary Core design, pull the aesthetic side of the piece, underlining the love stories and the meaning of freedom. So each has its name: mystery, tradition and passion. The price of re-created models varies between 139 and 159 euros.

Thus, the novelty of this summer is a Bioko, a lightweight fabric with graffiti signed by Sen Silva – an artist with several public works in Olhão and various works exhibited in a gallery in Almancil. “Both can be used in a ceremony, as a sunset party,” says Lourdes Silva, referring to the Bioko “mystery”, a piece suggested by Viviane singer, the artist integrates the project “Rua da Saudade”, named after the poet Ary dos Santos, and sings “Do Chiado to the pier and surrendered to the re-creation of the regional costume. The predominant colors are green / fig tree, the blue twilight of the setting sun Algarve and the brick of Olhão markets. A collection of these pieces will be open to the public, at FIL, in Lisbon, from 27 June to 5 July, a show dedicated to innovation. For now, the Research and Information Center of the Heritage of Cacela, is evident until July 12, in the afternoon, an exhibition of biocos authored by artist Joan Flag.

Bioko, a well-kept myth
But in the late nineteenth century, Julio Lourenço Pinto’s vision was far from this recent enthusiasm for Bioko since it considered that this was only a trace of Islamic culture “without elegance or beauty,” made of a fabric “black sepulchral” which It did not suit civilizational evolution. With some similarity to this costume is the cap, the third island – which is still part of the Azorean folklore and has become a symbol of this region. In the Algarve, the official extinction occurred in 1892. However, continued to be used in Olhão until the mid-30s of the twentieth century. The director of the Costume Museum in São Brás de Alportel, Emanuel Sancho says that is just “a myth” the relationship established between this piece and the Islamic veil. “A century ago the head was covering in all of Europe – from the Netherlands, where there was no biocos, to England and France,” he says.

Maria Veleda, feminist leader (1871-1955), argued that the use of this cover – both disliked the representative of the central power in the region as some intellectuals of the time – gave freedom to women because it could leave the house at any time and in any case without being recognized. At night, adds Emanuel Sancho, women could only leave if they were accompanied by their husbands.

For his part, Julio Lourenço Pinto – chronicler and novelist, alongside political career – out on the 33rd article of the Police Regulation that the prohibition also applies to men: “We will apply to any individual male, when found in disguise with his clothes of the opposite sex and this covering the face. ” Emanuel Sancho explains why the scope of the law: “There are reports of men who dressed in women’s clothes to avoid being recognized when committing crimes.” But on the other hand, there are also records of other freedoms unconditioned: “Men would use the Bioko to go, in disguised form, have with lovers.”

On this matter, Lurdes Silva reminds unrest that triggered in the minds of men to the passage of a female figure, dressed in black. “The men did not know who the woman was that they aroused the interest – could be a hidden way, their own companion.” The idea is expressed in the report of Raul Brandão, when he writes of Olhão: “Whose are those eyes that hurt lume” asks the writer in the book Fishers, reporting the passage of a female figure on the street flagstones, leaving in the air the sound of cloque-cloque footwear. By far portrays, “as the ghost [woman] vanished, leaving us the impression of mystery and dream.” And it raises the doubt or suspicion: “It’s a beautiful woman who goes to an affair?”. Thus, between about reports faithful (and unfaithful) built up the myth of embiocada woman. Júlio Lourenço Pinto published in the defunct newspaper The Faro, chronicles which lists some of these reports with the novels of the Arabian Nights, to reach the conclusion, in critical tone, that the use of Bioko only serves to “stun the heads of modern pashas Algarve “.

The story is not extinguished by decree
The prohibition of the use of Bioko in 1892 did not lead to his immediate demise. Emanuel Sancho researcher justified: “The use was very rooted in the population.” The trend was found, he says, he was looking around the law to avoid fines and penalties that could reach the detention. Instead of the traditional cape reaching to the feet, emphasizes, “Finally, it was only a black shawl in the back and a scarf tied under the neck.”

Júlio Lourenço Pinto, who banished him, acknowledged that the costume of “pilgrims beauties of the land of the Koran” has not disappeared by law enforcement and police repression. “It was sacrilegiously banned from the Algarvian customs more by the influence of sensible public opinion and illustrated than by the police action.” The truth is that, at least in Olhão, continued to use for another three or four decades, having been declared abolished. At present, Lourdes Silva seeks to redesign the history of the Algarve through a garment scorned by advocates morality of the nineteenth century.

Written by Idálio Revez

Post by filcris