From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 5.2 (1985): 129-40.
Copyright © 1985, The Cervantes Society of America
ARTICLE

Diego de Miranda, “Bufón,” or Spanish Gentleman? The Social Background of His Attire*


GERALD L. GINGRAS

IN ALL HIS WORKS, Cervantes is careful in using dress descriptions as a way of placing characters in their social context.1 In the Quijote, he follows this procedure from the initial presentation of Alonso Quijano in Chapter I, to the portrayal of numerous ladies and gentlemen who

     *The present work was realized in conjunction with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the Summer Seminar “From Romance to Novel” (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1983), directed by Professor Javier Herrero, to whom I express my gratitude.

     1 Miguel Herrero, “Cervantes y la moda,” Revista de Ideas Estéticas, números 22-23, abril-septiembre, Tomo VI (1948), pp. 175-202. Herrero proffers several interesting remarks concerning the reflection of dress modes in Cervantes' works, remarks which find specific confirmation in this study:

La estética del traje la funda Cervantes en la que pudiéramos llamar ley de la propiedad social, por la cual el vestido desempeña función representativa y jerarquizadora . . . .  A esta ley fundamental añade Cervantes otra ley accesoria o complementaria: la del decoro. No basta ir propiamente vestido, sino decorosamente vestido . . . .  Aunadas estas dos leyes en el traje o vestido, reconoce Cervantes un valor de máxima importancia a lo que vulgarmente llamamos la percha, o sea, la distinción, la calidad de la persona . . . .

     The critic then draws an important distinction between decorous dress and disguise: “Si el traje deja de convenir a la categoría, al carácter o al valor social de la persona, se convierte en disfraz, peca por su base, y pierde su condición fundamental para ser estético” (pp. 175-76).

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130 GERALD L. GINGRAS Cervantes

populate the novelistic world in continuation.2 The description of Diego de Miranda's attire (II, 16, p. 1040) constitutes no exception. The object of the present study is to demonstrate that the gentleman's green garb is entirely appropriate to his status as a wealthy and discreet country hidalgo. Moreover, an investigation of the social background of Don Diego's apparel will afford a more ample perspective on some recent literary interpretations of the caballero's attire.
     Percas de Ponseti, for example, argues that, in Cervantes' hands, the traditional green symbolism undergoes a permutation in which the color comes to signify self-deception.3 The critic reasons that, as the narration moves from Miranda's self-description (perfection) to the portrayal of his sedentary existence (laxitude), there is established a metaphorical value, where green, “color de cazador y de la nobleza por excelencia,” now connotes “. . . lo prostituido” (II, 337). Tawny, the secondary color of Don Diego's garb, “color que se acerca al del león, pero no llega a serlo” (II, 338), reflects, by metaphorical extension, the degeneration of Miranda's moral substance into mere ostentation.
     Márquez-Villanueva's assessment of Don Diego's character is similarly negative. The commentator affirms that the presentation of Miranda's highly-ordered existence represents an implicit criticism, on Cervantes' part, of the inflexibly rational approach to life propounded by the Christian Epicureans and extolled by Erasmus.4 In short, the critic asserts that Miranda is portrayed as a “cuerdo de atar”: “Embriagado de prudencia, zambullido en el piélago de la cordura, el Verde Gabán se juega la vida tan locamente como pueda hacerlo don Quijote con sus caballerías . . . .”5 Hence, Cervantes not only assumes the paradoxical vision of Erasmus, but carries it one step farther: “con Diego de Miranda . . . Cervantes acepta combatir en el mismo terreno de la Moria. Pero no para aliarse con ella, sino para perseguirla y volverla loca en el caracol de su ingenio.”6 It is within this interpretive framework that Márquez-Villanueva explains the significance of Miranda's eye-catching apparel.
     The critic argues that Don Diego's flowing green gabán with its harlequin rhombuses of tawny velvet creates an outlandish effect and

     2 Miguel de Cervantes, Obras completas (Barcelona: Juventud, 1964). All subsequent citations of Cervantes' works are taken from this edition.
     3 Helena Percas de Ponseti, Cervantes y su concepto del arte (Madrid: Gredos, 1975), II, 332-39; 378-95.
     4 Francisco Márquez-Villanueva, Personajes y temas del “Quijote” (Madrid: Taurus, 1975), pp. 171-74; 215.
     5 Márquez-Villanueva, p. 214.
     6 Márquez-Villanueva, p. 214.


5 (1985) Diego de Miranda, “Bufón,” or Gentleman? 131

is completely inappropriate, considering the gentleman's age and inclinations. The incongruity acquires even greater emphasis, given the extension of the color green to the trappings of his mount. In effect, Márquez-Villanueva states that both the gabán and the green and tawny color scheme which characterizes Miranda's attire are distinctive of the Northern European bufón, as depicted in Holbein's illustrations to the Stultitiae Laus and, later, adapted by Spanish authors. Don Diego's clothing serves, then, an emblematic function. It underscores the paradox of a character who, seeming to be a model of discretion, has been rendered insensate due to excessive prudence.7
     My research has led to conclusions which differ from those of the scholars cited above. First, it will be seen that the ostentatious colors applied to expensive fabrics accord perfectly with the aesthetic preferences of the Spanish gentry before and during Cervantes' time. Specifically, the symbolic equivalence of green which Percas insists is present everywhere in the Quijote is attenuated by the fact that green, and green in combination with tawny, were among the hues most preferred by Spaniards. Secondly, the similarities which Márquez-Villanueva establishes between the style of Miranda's attire and the European fool's costume are preempted by the fact that Don Diego's clothing conforms in every respect to Spanish dress custom of his day. In fact, some of the details of the caballero's apparel even attest to his conservative tendency vis-à-vis Castile's sumptuary laws.
     From the late fifteenth to the seventeenth century, the Spanish nobility considered ostentation in dress to be admirable and, therefore, normative. In their studies of Spanish fashion during that epoch, Carmen Bernis and Ruth Anderson note that, at a time when the passion for dazzling opulence in attire had overtaken the European nobility, the Spanish were notorious for their love of costly and bright fabrics.8 Moreover, beginning in the reign of the Catholic

     7 Márquez-Villanueva, pp. 220-25.
     8 Ruth M. Anderson, Hispanic Costume 1480-1530 (New York: Hispanic Society of America, 1979); Carmen Bernis, Trajes y modas en la España de los Reyes Católicos, I. Las mujeres (Madrid: C.S.I.C., 1978); II. Los hombres (Madrid: C.S.I.C., 1979); “Modas moriscas en la sociedad cristiana española del siglo XV,” Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 144 (1959): pp. 199-236; Indumentaria española en tiempos de Carlos V (Madrid: C.S.I.C., 1962).
     Don Quijote, in his harangue on the Golden Age (D. Q. I, 11), makes direct reference to the excessive use of silks and the unusual and handsome dress styles which resulted:

. . . no eran sus adornos de los que ahora se usan, a quien la púrpura de Tiro y la por tantos modos martirizada seda encarecen, sino de algunas hojas verdes . . . con lo que quizá iban tan pomposas y compuestas como van ahora nuestras cortesanas con las raras y peregrinas invenciones que la curiosidad ociosa les ha mostrado.


132 GERALD L. GINGRAS Cervantes

Monarchs, the aristocracy's insatiable appetite for colorful silks was assimilated by a much wider sector of society. The Spanish populace's insistence upon dressing as richly as the nobility created a twofold problem. First, lines of class distinction were hopelessly blurred. Secondly, so many families were ruined financially due to their penchant for high fashion that Castile was threatened with insolvency.9 Royal ordinances designed to regulate dress habits were therefore decreed in the last decade of the fifteenth century. Those issued in Segovia, 1496, begin in the following manner:

Bien sabedes y a todos es notorio quanto de pocos tienpos a esta parte todos estados y profesiones de personas nuestros subditos y naturales se han desmedido y desordenado en sus ropas y trajes y guarniciones y jaeces no midiendo sus gastos cada uno con su estado: delo qual ha resultado que muchos por complir en esto sus apetitos y presumciones: mal baratan sus rentas y otros venden e empeñan y gastan sus bienes y patrimonios . . . para comprar brocados y paño de oro . . . para se vestir y aun pa guarnecer sus cauallos . . . y para dorar y platear espadas y espuelas . . . .

(The emphasis is mine)10

     From the sixteenth century onward, the records of the Cortes furnish solid evidence that the ordinances were doomed to failure. In 1537, it is reported that “la prematica de los brocados . . . se guarda mal, a lo menos fuera de la corte.”11 The situation so worsened that in 1542 it was petitioned that silk be entirely forbidden to “la gente comun.”12 In proceedings from the Cortes de Madrid, 1592-1598, it is noted that: “Mucho convendria que se pusiese alguna comoda limitacion al traje y habito de los labradores y de sus hijos y mujeres, porque en su tanto es mas excesivo que el de los mas ricos caballeros . . . . ”13 In a word, Miranda's fashionable ostentation, down to the trappings of his mount, reflects that of a majority of Spaniards from all classes who, later, even ignored —“a lo menos fuera de la corte”— the severe dress mode inspired by Felipe II.

     9 Bernis, I. Las Mujeres, 57-58.
     10 Reference is made to the pragmática of September 2, 1496 as contained in the Libro de las bulas y pragmáticas de los Reyes Católicos (Madrid: Instituto de España, 1973), I, 272b.
     11 See item 14, “Cortes de Valladolid, 1537,” in Cortes de los antiguos reinos de Leon y de Castilla (Madrid: Impresores de la Real Casa, 1882), IV, 639-40.
     12 See item 6, “Cortes de Valladolid, 1542”, in Cortes de los antiguos reinos, V, 174: “debese suplicar a su majestad que mande moderar el vestir de la gente noble destos rreynos e quitar del todo la seda en la gente comun sy no fuere una vayna despada o una gorra . . . y escusarse an los exçesos que se vehen y cada dia va en creçimiento.”
     13 Cortes de Madrid, Desde 1592 á 1598, 23 noviembre, 1598, p. 758. This material was made available to me by Professor Javier Herrero, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.


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     The studies of Bernis and Anderson corroborate this evidence in great detail. Utilizing clothing inventories, texts and works of art, they conclude that the colors most preferred in silks, and used in varying combinations, were crimson, black, green, tawny, white, turquoise and purple-violet. In fact, Miranda's use of tawny for the velvet decorations and hood of his gabán corresponds to the documented custom of applying tawny only to silks, especially terciopelo, cetí and raso.14 While color combinations such as crimson / black and purple-violet /green may seem garish according to modern canons of elegance, they did constitute the hallmark of good taste for mature and serious-minded Spaniards. As examples, gabanes in purple-violet cetí and green velvet lined with green cetí were tailored for Prince don Juan.15 Later, in 1543, an anonymous writer, commenting upon a meeting between the Duke of Medina and María of Portugal, gives up the attempt to describe the brilliance of the noblemen's apparel to simply, and admiringly, state: “basta que ellos y sus caballeros salieron tan ricos y galanos quanto se puede pensar . . . .”16 Obviously, “galano” was not a pejorative term, but rather, as Covarrubias states, referred to “el que anda vestido de gala y se precia de gentil hombre . . . .”17
     Moreover, the historical record indicates that the verdeleonado combination was not reserved exclusively for the bufón's costume. Bernis' and Anderson's clothing studies yield copious examples of garments in green and tawny worn on official occasions by high-ranking nobles and by individuals of lesser social category. Furthermore, Monique Jolie, in her article, “La Sémiologie du vêtement,” employs various sixteenth and seventeenth-century texts to demonstrate that verde y leonado was not at all confined to situations marked by carnivalesque overtones.18 Concisely stated, the wearing of those colors, in combination or separately, was a fact of popular dress style.19

     14 Bernis, Trajes y modas, I, 22.
     15 Bernis, Trajes y modas, II, 88.
     16 Bernis, Indumentaria española, p. 8.
     17 Sebastián de Covarrubias, Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española, según la impresión de 1611, edición de Martín de Riquer (Barcelona: S. A. Horta, I. E., 1943), p. 620. The present study contrasts sharply with Márquez-Villanueva's affirmation that “el gusto por tan vivo color no es nada común, ni parece propio de la cincuentena . . . .  El caballero andante, desorientado, al parecer por la brillante indumentaria, no en vano comienza por llamarle ‘señor galán,’ como si se tratara de algún jovenzuelo,” (Temas y personajes, pp. 150-51).
     18 Monique Jolie, “Sémiologie du vêtement et interprétation de texte,” Revista de Estudios Canadienses, II (1977), 54-64.
     19 Cervantes' description of the mare's trappings as “asimismo de morado y verde” is considered by Clemencín to be an oversight. The critic [p. 134] notes that, “Sólo se había hablado de paño ‘verde’ y de terciopelo ‘leonado’; esto es, ‘rojizo’como el de la piel de los leones” (Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote de la Mancha, [Madrid: Castilla, 1967], p. 1596, n. 8).
     Percas de Ponseti, on the other hand, observes that “el adverbio ‘asimismo’ en la frase ‘el aderezo de la yegua era . . . asimismo de morado y verde,’ indica que también viste morado su dueño.” Professor Percas finds this to be significant, since “en cuanto al morado, color de la penitencia en el folklore español de ayer y hoy, así como en el simbolismo eclesiástico, sugiere la degeneración de los valores espirituales de Don Diego . . . ,” (Cervantes y su concepto, II, 338). The argument for symbol-metaphor is, however, displaced by Monique Jolie's recent finding:

Le Trésor de César Oudin apporte la preuve de ce que l'emploi d'asimismo est ici pleinement justifié face à leonado ou leonino color, ce fin traducteur donne en effet les quatre essais de définition qui suivent: ‘fauve, de la couleur du lion, leonnin, il se prend aussi pour tanné’; tandis que morado color lui inspire cet autre commentaire: ‘violet, pers, et selon aucuns c'est le gris brun ou le tanné obscur’. Le harnais de la jument reprend donc bien, dans une tonalité qu'on peut simplement imaginer plus sourde, le contraste bicolore du couvre-chef et du manteau,” (“Sémiologie,” p. 55).


134 GERALD L. GINGRAS Cervantes

     The frequency with which lavish clothing in green and green / gold was worn by Spaniards is amply reflected in the Quijote and, as I have found, throughout Cervantes' writings. Because many of those characters in green attire are clearly dissociated from the ambience of buffoonery and deceit, arguments for Cervantes' esoteric use of that color in the portrayal of Miranda —i.e., Percas' trickery / self-deceit symbolism and Márquez-Villanueva's “loco” emblematism— lack interpretive viability. Percas does note this difficulty and concludes that Cervantes' use of green is so inextricably rooted in literary or social convention that “el lector nunca está seguro del sentido.”20 We can, however, verify that Cervantes' primary and literal motive in using the color corresponds to specific social contexts in which, during that epoch, the wearing of green was deemed appropriate.
     Cervantes often affirms the relation between green attire and the different circumstances in which it was worn in Spanish society through the use of contextual markers. When referring to garments worn for the hunt, he specifies the socially ordained color-activity correspondence with the marker “vestido de cazador” or “vestido de monte.”21 “A lo marinero” is used to indicate the green attire worn by

     20 Percas, Cervantes y su concepto, II, 395.
     21 Rinconete y Cortadillo, p. 135: “Traía el uno montera verde de cazador”; D. Q. II, 30, p. 1152: “llegándose cerca, conoció que eran cazadores de altanería . . . ; [hacanea] adornada de guarniciones verdes y con un sillón de plata. Venía la señora asimismo vestida de verde”; D. Q. II, 34, pp. 1185-86: “Diéronle a don Quijote un vestido de monte y a Sancho otro verde, de finísimo paño”; D. Q. II, 36, p. 1201: “Ahí te envío un vestido verde de cazador . . . .”


5 (1985) Diego de Miranda, “Bufón,” or Gentleman? 135

sailors and sea-voyagers, as in the cases of Periandro in the Persiles and Marco Antonio in Las dos doncellas.22 The latter, garbed completely in green, is even referred to as “aquel de lo verde” and the “mancebo de lo verde” and draws the admiring glances of all present. The custom of wearing green for country weddings is reflected in the “Bodas de Camacho”23 and, again, in the wedding of Daranio and Silveria in La Galatea: “salió el rico pastor Daranio a la serrana vestido . . . sayo verde . . . y de la color del sayo una cuarteada caperuza (i.e., pointed hood) . . . .  Silveria . . . venía con una gran saya y cuerpos leonados guarnecidos de raso blanco, camisa . . . de azul, verde, gorguera de hilo amarillo.”24 Furthermore, as I have indicated, green was a preferred color for official occasions. In La española inglesa, Isabela, prepared to meet Queen Isabel of England, is arrayed “a la española, con una saya entera de raso verde . . . y forrada en rica tela de oro . . . .”25 Again, in the Persiles, the narrator describes the sight of Rutilio's Leonora, lavishly adorned in a “saya entera a lo castellano . . . forrada . . . en tela de oro verde . . . .”26
     Finally, green was considered most appropriate for the garb of travellers, the marker being “vestido de camino.” In the Persiles, Isabela Castrucha is “sentada en un rico sillón . . . vestida de camino, toda de verde, hasta el sombrero, que con ricas y varias plumas azotaba el aire, con un antifaz, asimismo verde . . . .”27 The epithet used by the narrator to describe Isabela when Auristela and company encounter her once again is most appropriate: “supieron ser aquella la gentil dama

     22 Persiles, p. 712: “Periandro, con casaca de terciopelo verde y calzones de lo mismo, a lo marinero”; Las dos doncellas, pp. 381-82: “de parte de los que más se señalaban de las galeras lo hacía gallardamente un mancebo . . . vestido de verde, con un sombrero de la misma color adornado . . . .”
     23 D. Q., II, 31, p. 1077.
     24 La Galatea, p. 173. It may be argued that the “mantellina de . . . vistosa tela verde” which “Princess Micomicona” puts on symbolizes the trickery and deceit in which Dorotea is engaged (See Percas, Cervantes y su concepto, II, 387). However, the narrator is careful to specify that, “Todo aquello, y más dijo que había sacado de su casa para lo que se ofreciese,” implying that Dorotea's motivation in carrying such formal, green attire on her journey was the possibility of an eventual reunion with and marriage to Fernando. Moreover, narrative emphasis is on the costliness of Dorotea's garb, thus reflecting her status as the daughter of a wealthy farmer: “con que en un instante se adornó de manera que una rica y gran señora parecía,” (D.Q. I, 29, p. 690).
     25 La española inglesa, p. 180.
     26 Persiles, p. 563.
     27 Persiles, pp. 810-11.


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de lo verde” (the emphasis is mine).28 In El casamiento engañoso, Doña Clemente Bueso enters “vestida de raso verde prensado, con muchos pasamanos de oro, capotillo de lo mismo y con la misma guarnición, sombrero con plumas verdes, blancas y encarnadas, y con rico cintillo de oro . . . . Entró con ella el señor don Lope Meléndez de Almendárez, no menos bizarro que ricamente vestido de camino.”29 Clearly, the colorful apparel worn by that other “caminante,” Diego de Miranda, elicits the same kind of admiration on Don Quijote's part. It is perfectly comprehensible, then, that Quijote addresses the caballero as “Señor gabán.”
     In sum, the colors applied to Don Diego's mantle and trappings were normative for the epoch. Moreover, green was especially becoming, given Miranda's status as a traveller. It now remains to be seen whether or not the gabán was the immediately recognizable garb of the “loco,” as Márquez-Villanueva has posited.
     The gabán, a closed overgarment with sleeves and hood, had been worn by Spaniards of diverse social conditions since the Middle Ages. In the fifteenth century, the wealthy had come to favor the gabán de lujo, which still appears in inventory lists in the early sixteenth century.30 While aristocratic preference had subsequently shifted to other styles, Covarrubias, in 1611, identifies the gabán as the still typical cloak of country dwellers and “caminantes.”31 Miranda, as traveller and country gentleman, follows the conventional dress mode. I find no evidence in the historical record to verify that the gabán —or analogous ropas talares— were reserved for the fool.
     Moreover, Márquez-Villanueva affirms that the “loco” of Calderón's La cena de Baltasar and that of Cervantes' “Las Cortes de la Muerte” in the Quijote are attired in gabanes.32 In fact, we are informed only that the first wears a “vestido” and that the latter appears “vestido de bojiganga,” that is —according to Clemencín— one who is eccentrically dressed and who dances in a disorderly fashion.33 Cervantes' other dancing fool —Mostrenco, in the comedia Pedro de Urdemalas— is clad in a half-length woman's skirt. The immediately

     28 Persiles, p. 815.
     29 El casamiento engañoso, pp. 440-41.
     30 See Bernis, Indumentaria medieval española (Madrid: C.S.I.C., 1955), pp. 24, 40; and Trajes y modas, II. Los hombres, p. 88. Also, see Anderson, Hispanic Costume, p. 111.
     31 Covarrubias defines the gabán as a “capote cerrado con mangas y capilla, del cual usa la gente que anda en el campo y los caminantes . . . .”
     32 Márquez-Villanueva, p. 222, n. 103.
     33 P. 1573, n. 14: “vestida ridículamente con campanillas, cencerros o cascabeles, baila desconcertadamente y hace gestos y posturas extravagantes . . . .”


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recognizable trait of Cervantes' “locos” is not, then, the gabán, but rather a non-specific, ridiculous attire and, above all, the buffoonish accoutrements which complement it: bells and the parodic sceptre adorned with cows' bladders in “Las Cortes de la Muerte” and, in Pedro de Urdemalas, the bells sewn to Mostrenco's leggings.
     Again, it is not the gabán worn by Sancho on his journey to Barataria which distinguishes him as a “loco” figure.34 It was customary for magistrates to wear ropas talares in Cervantes' time and much before. Hence, the narrator's marker, “a lo letrado.”35 What may be questionable here is the fact that the dukes have given Sancho a “macho a la jineta” to ride. In a pragmática from the Cortes of 1534, it is written that “ningun ni alguna persona de qualquier hedad, estado, dignidad y condición que sea, Infante o Duque o Marques o Conde, o de otro mayor o menor estado o dignidad no ande en mula, ni en macho . . . sino que todos los que quisieran andar cabalgando anden a la brida o a la gineta en caballo o yegua de silla . . . ,” (the emphasis is mine).36 While the image of Governor Panza astride a “macho” may arouse interpretive suspicion,37 Miranda's “yegua” with “aderezo de la jineta” unquestionably evinces its rider's judiciousness.
     The Gentleman in Green is circumspect even down to his spurs. The practice of gilding “espuelas” had not only continued, in contravention of the ordinance of 1496 (see page 132 above), but had become even more prevalent in the sixteenth century. In an effort to stem the gilding of swords, spurs and trappings, a petition was presented before the Cortes of Toledo in 1559, reminding the monarch of his duty to uphold the law: “Otrosi, se ha suplicado que no se dore ni platee cosa ninguna . . . porque se han dado tanto a dorar cosas y aderezos, que se han gastado quantos escudos y moneclas de oro hay en España . . . .” But, in conformity with the 1496 ordinance, the petitioners add: “y esto no se entienda en aderezos

     34 Apparently, Sancho had been cloaked in a gabán from the outset of his adventures with Don Quijote. We are informed that, after the blanket tossing, “Trujéronle [i.e., to Sancho] allí su asno, y subiéndole encima le arroparon con su gabán . . .” (D. Q. I, 17).
     35 D. Q. II, 44, p. 1246: “vestido a lo letrado, y encima un gabán muy ancho de chamelote de aguas leonado, con una montera de lo mesmo, sobre un macho a la jineta.” See Bernis (Indumentaria española, pp. 9-10) concerning the letrados and their ropas talares.
     36 Cortes de los antiguos reinos de Leon y de Castilla (Cortes de Madrid), 1534, IV, 628.
     37 See Percas' metaphorical treatment of Sanchos mount in “Los consejos de Don Quijote a Sancho,” in Cervantes and the Renaissance, ed. Michael D. McGaha (Easton, Pa.: Juan de la Cuesta, 1980), pp. 218-19.


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de la gineta,” (the emphasis is mine).38 Although Don Diego, riding a mare outfitted “de la jineta” may indeed wear gilded spurs, he opts instead for a pair tastefully varnished in green. The narrator concludes, approvingly, that the spurs, “por hacer labor con todo el vestido parecian mejor que si fueran de oro puro.”
     Miranda's prudence is further manifested by the fact that, at a time when even the labradores were donning silks in spite of the punitive taxes levied on them, the caballero has chosen for his gabán, paño fino —an elegant, but less costly wool. The gentleman's conservative tendency is undeniable in the light of a caveat set forth in the Cortes of 1598-1601. There, it is affirmed that the high taxes on silks will prevent their purchase by all . . . except “el que estuviere sobrado y rico, y si no, pase sin ellas, con vestir de paño fino de Segovia . . . y si como loco no pudiendo, quisiere vestir de seda y traer oro, costarle ha caro . . .” (the emphasis is mine).39 In spite of the fact that Miranda is “más que medianamente rico,” he wears paño fino, thus avoiding the kind of foolish squandering warned against in the petition.
     The most crucial argument which Márquez-Villanueva adduces in support of his emblem interpretation is that of Miranda's decorative jirones. The critic asserts that the jirones, “apliqués de distinto color que debieron de comenzar por ser remiendas,”40 are triangles or rhombuses in the manner of the Northern European fool's costume, a style which came to be identified with the Harlequin figure in Italy. Bernis' studies on the history of Spanish dress offer, however, other information regarding the development of the jirones.
     In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Moorish clothing styles came into vogue among the Spaniards.41 The Arabic jirones which the Christians assimilated into their dress were long, triangular pieces that were inserted into the skirts of sayos for a practical reason. In 1539, Pedro Girón, describing Spain's already-antiquated dress

     38 Cortes de los antiguos reinos de Leon y de Castilla (Cortes de Toledo, 1559), V. Peticion XL, p. 827.
     39 Cortes de Madrid, Desde 1598 á 1601, p. 465. This material was made available to me by Professor Javier Herrero, University of Virginia, Charlottesville .
     40 Márquez-Villanueva, p. 222.
     41 Bernis (“Modas moriscas,” pp. 200-01) explains: “De los juegos de cañas pasaron las prendas moras a otros usos . . . en tiempos de los Reyes Católicos, sin embargo, varias prendas granadinas habían sido totalmente adoptadas. Por lo general se usaban corno prendas de lujo y se reservaban para ciertas ocasiones, pero hubo alguna que llegó a ser de uso corriente e incluso pasó a formar parte del traje popular, donde se conservó por más tiempo.”


5 (1985) Diego de Miranda, “Bufón,” or Gentleman? 139

styles, noted that, because the sayos were very narrow from the waist down, “los abrían y les metían unos pedazos de paño que llamaban girones; comenzaban poco encima de la cintura y alli eran angostos y puntiagudos y abajo iban ensanchandose.”42
     The second half of the fifteenth century witnessed a renewed attraction toward the exotic and colorful Arabic civilization. With this second wave of “maurofilia,” the wearing of Moorish jirones again became stylish among the Christians. However, the long triangular inserts, formerly employed to give greater amplitude to the skirt of the sayo, had evolved into a purely decorative item. The jirones worn from the late fifteenth century onward now consisted of uniformly-shaped panels, or fajas placed over or sewn into the garment in order to create an impressive effect. Bernis confirms the widespread popularity of this later version of the jirones, mentioning examples of it in Italy, “en mujeres vestidas con influencia española.”43
     In fine, there is evidence of only two kinds of jirones in Spain. Both are of Moorish provenance. Given Cervantes' careful attention to contemporary dress fashion throughout his works, I think it safe to conclude that it is the newer version of jirones, as decorative panels, which adorn Miranda's gabán.
     Because Moorish footwear and ornamental accessories had been fully incorporated into the Spaniards' dress by the beginning of the sixteenth century, there is nothing unusual or gratuitous in the fact that Don Diego wears buskins, tahalí and alfanje.44 Moreover, the

42 Bernis, Indumentaria española, pp. 90-91.
43 Bernis, Indumentaria española, p. 91.
44 See Bernis, Trajes y modas, II. Los hombres, p. 20. In “Modas moriscas,” Bernis cites a document written to preserve the memory of Spanish dress modes, in which it is stated that Fernando, meeting Isabel at Ilora, “tenia vestido un jubon de demesin de pelo e un quisote de seda rasa amarillo . . . e una espada morisca ceñida, muy rica . . .” (p. 214). In a similar vein, Anderson (Hispanic Costume, p. 15) notes that Prince Philip (the Fair) dressed in the Moorish style, with turbans, long garments of crimson or blue velvet and “also a red cloak and a great scimitar . . . .” Within the historical context, then, Don Diego's alfanje is neither “insólito,” as Percas suggests (Cervantes y su concepto, I, 362), nor does it constitute a bufón's burlesque sceptre, as Márquez-Villanueva posits (Temas y personajes, p. 222, n. 103).
     In passing, it should also be noted that the turbans worn by Don Quijote and some of Cervantes' other characters reflect a well-defined fashion. Bernis states that “de todos los préstamos que el traje cristiano tomó al traje moro en el siglo XV, fueron las tocas el que más profundamente arraigó. Al principio las usaron reyes y caballeros, pero después su uso se fué generalizando de tal modo que acabaron por pasar al traje popular, donde se conservaron por más tiempo” (“Modas [p. 139] moriscas,” p. 211). Moreover, the oriental vogue acquired renewed impetus in the second half of the sixteenth century due to the “influencias turcas que actuaron sobre el traje europeo . . . cuando España imponía sus modas en las principales cortes de Europa” (p. 226).


140 GERALD L. GINGRAS Cervantes

Arabic shoulder belt with cutlass was entirely practical, since it could be worn over the stylish, full-bodied cloaks.45 Several of Cervantes' characters wear tahalí and alfanje —a Moor in El gallardo español,46 the cautivo in Don Quijote (I, 37) 47 and, of course, Don Diego de Miranda (II, 16).48 Cervantes knew very well that the costume of the bufón required eccentric garb with accessories —such as sceptre and bells— which were typical of the fool. He obviously had no intention of using that costume in his portrayal of Miranda.
     In conclusion, the nature of Don Diego's attire accords with what was expected of a wealthy Spanish hidalgo. Furthermore, while Miranda might have ignored Castile's sumptuary ordinances, choosing silk for his garment —as did a majority of his countrymen— he adheres to the spirit of the law and wears paño fino. The gentleman's discreet character becomes even more salient given the fact that, despite his official prerogative (as a caballero a la jineta) to gild spurs, Don Diego prudently chooses a “barniz verde” by which to achieve an equally elegant effect. Certainly, then, the moral profile which Don Diego de Miranda offers of himself is substantiated by his attire. Don Quijote correctly perceives the Gentleman in Green as an “hombre de chapa . . . y . . . de buenas prendas.”


SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE,
NOTRE DAME

     45 Bernis, “Modas moriscas,” pp. 218-22.
     46 El gallardo español, p. 893.
     47 Clemencín (p. 1355, n. 23) verifies the Captive's dress as authentic, citing the sixteenth-century work Topografía de Argel by Don Diego de Haedo, Archbishop of Palermo, Sicily.
     48 Trifaldín's garb represents a parodic version of the Hispano-Arabic style: “una negrísima loba, cuya falda era asimismo desaforada de grande . . . le ceñía y atravesaba un ancho tahelí . . . de quien pendía un alfanje de guarniciones” (II, 36, p. 1203).


Fred Jehle jehle@ipfw.edu Publications of the CSA HCervantes
URL: http://www.h-net.org/~cervantes/csa/articf85/gingras.htm