Butterfly coats
February 13, 2020 2:23 AM   Subscribe

Was there ever a group of people who traditionally made coats or robes out of butterfly wings?

My girlfriend has a vague memory that there was an indigenous group of people who did this, but it's a hard topic to google for (too many hits for contemporary clothes that look like butterfly wings) and we couldn't turn up any references to it. It's possible that she's got it mixed up with Mesoamerican featherwork.
posted by daisyk to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Tangentially, iridescent beetle wings were used as clothing ornamentation. Most famously in a Lady Macbeth stage costume, and I've seen information that the style derives from Indian embroidery featuring beetle wings. Unlike very fragile butterfly wings, beetle wings do stand up to at least light wear.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:51 AM on February 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

The wikipedia entry for Morpho says “The people along the Rio Negro in Brazil once exploited the territorial habits of the blue morpho (M. menelaus) by luring them into clearings with bright blue decoys. The collected butterfly wings were used as embellishment for ceremonial masks.” (no citation given, though)
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:45 AM on February 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

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