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TRAUERORDNUNG 1768 / REGULATIONS FOR MOURNING FROM 1768 / MARIA THERESIA / AUSTRIA / LAW / DRESS CODE: Wir Maria Theresia von Gottes Gnaden Römische Kaiserin….. Entbieten allen, und jeden Unseren getreuen Vasallen…



A broadside by the Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, Maria Theresia, announces new regulations for mourning for the families of deceased in the Austrian hereditary territory. 

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The broadside is a list of new regulations for the mourning for Austrian and Bohemian hereditary lands, made by the empress of the Holy Roman Empire Maria Theresia (1717-1780), in 1768, and was an appendix to the laws from 1747. 

The Holy Roman Empire had very strict regulations for the clothing of the members of the families of a deceased person. The regulations controlled the appearance in the public, where the type of the mourning outfit and the time a person had to wear it was enforced by law. 

The new regulations, announced with this broadside demanded that direct members of the family, such as children of deceased parents, parents of deceased children, widows, grand-children and direct heirs should mourn for full six months. The stepparents, step-grandparents and adoptive parents have to mourn for three months, and stepchildren and grand-children for three weeks. The exceptions and detailed regulation follow. 

The last two rules focus on the material of clothing. It was forbidden to wear any mourning clothing, made of foreign or luxury materials, such as velvet, damask, or atlas. From silk materials it was only allowed to wear dresses made of regional made taffeta and gros de Tours. It was also forbidden to wear accessories made abroad. The only accessories allowed were the ones made in the country, preferably scarves from a Klagenfurt production or accessories made of wool and camlet, made in Linz, Austria. The violation was to be fined.

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