Xhubleta is a handcrafted Albanian traditional costume garment worn by highland women and girls mostly in Northern Albania, Malësia.

Xhubleta Albanian costume

The Albanian Xhubleta, skills, craftsmanship and forms of usage, is Inscribed on the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

The Albanian Xhubleta requires great skill to make, in the cutting and sewing of the strips to achieve the flared undulating profile at the back. The full costume comprises a shirt worn beneath the xhublete, a waistcoat with fringes on the shoulders, a sash or waist belt (‘kërdhokla’), socks, apron and several head scarves. Made of fulled woven white and black wool and black wool braid.

According to Andromaqi Gjergji the xhublete was worn only by Albanian women and is not paralleled in other parts of the Balkans.

A ‘white xhublete’ Xhubletë a Bardhë, made for a young girl of around twelve.
A married woman’s xhublete is black with a single white strip at the hem, and has significantly more embroidered decoration.

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Xhubleta is a handcrafted garment worn by highland women and girls in Northern Albania, characterised by its undulating bell form. Predominantly black with colourful embroidered motifs, the crafting process entails preparing the shajak (woven felt), cutting, sewing and embroidering symbolic figures. Xhubleta was once used in everyday life from the age of puberty, indicating the wearer’s social and economic status. However, its use and production has been decreasing over the past decades due to socio-political and economic reasons. The new policies set by the socialist system in the 1960s altered traditional cultural patterns, bringing changes to the daily lives of the mountain communities and the use and production of Xhubleta. As women had to work in the agricultural socialist cooperatives, Xhubleta was no longer practical for everyday life. Furthermore, state collectivization led to a lack of raw materials for its production. Today, few women possess the knowledge of the entire process, and traditional family-based transmission is rare. Nevertheless, the garment has maintained its social and spiritual significance and is still considered an integral part of highland identity.


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