The himation is the most voluminous and most formal of the series of garments based on a length of cloth draped over the left shoulder. Worn by the leshy for warmth in cooler climates, the original version was voluminous and made of warm wool. In Gehennum it is worn as the most formal of garments: even so light hemp replaced the wool, and the himation was steadily abbreviated as the most elaborate styles were simplified.

The leshy himation began with a length of cloth over the left shoulder hanging to the knee at the back. The cloth was drawn diagonally across the chest, wrapped completely around the body, then drawn diagonally across the back and thrown over the shoulder to hang to the knee in front. The basic Gehennese version is arranged over the shoulder hanging to the knee either in front or in the back, drawn diagonally across the body, under the right arm, then diagonally across the body and back over the left shoulder, without the turn around the torso. Variations are numerous.

The leshy himation was usually a solid colour, sometimes with contrasting stripes on the long edge. Gehennese himations are often decorated with bright batik, sometimes embroidered, and sometimes edged with or made of lace.

The himation is an awkward garment, encumbering the left arm and preventing rapid or vigorous movement. That is of course part of the point: wearing an himation shows that one does not have to work.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.