A tassel is a finishing feature in fabric and clothing decoration. It is a universal ornament that is seen in varying versions in many cultures around the globe.

Diagram of a tassel

History and use

A handmade tassel on drapery
A handmade tassel on drapery in the Governor of Vermont's ceremonial office.

In the Hebrew Bible, the Lord spoke to Moses instructing him to tell the Israelites to make tassels (Hebrew tzitzit) on the corners of their garments, to help them to remember all the commandments of the Lord and to keep them (Numbers 15:37-40), and as a sign of holiness. The religious Hebrew tassel, however, bears little resemblance to the decorative one which eventually became popular in Europe, especially France.

In the West, tassels were originally a series of windings of thread or string around a suspending string until the desired curvature was attained. Later, turned wooden moulds, which were either covered in simple wrappings or much more elaborate coverings called satinings, were used. This involved an intricate binding of bands of filament silk vertically around the mould by means of an internal "lacing" in the bore of the mould.

These constructions were varied and augmented with extensive ornamentations that were each assigned an idiosyncratic term by their French creators. In sixteenth-century France these individuals were called passementiers, and an apprenticeship of seven years was required to become a master in one of the subdivisions of the guild. The French widely exported their very artistic work, and at such low prices that no other European nation developed a mature "trimmings" industry. Many of the passementiers, however, were among the Protestant Hugenots who fled France in the 1600s to escape persecution, taking their tools and skills with them.[1] Tassels and their associated forms changed style throughout the years, from the small and casual of Renaissance designs (see example), through the medium

Rassel MET DP6615 21.83.82
17th Century linen tassel from Italy, Metropolitan Museum of Art

sizes and more staid designs of the Empire period to the Victorian Era with the largest and most elaborate decorative flourishes. Some of these designs are returning today from the European and American artisans, who may charge a thousand dollars for a single hand-made tassel. The majority of the world's tassel production, however, takes place in China which mass-produces and exports them globally.

Tassels (also called tufts) were traditionally worn by Oxford and Cambridge University undergraduates on their caps, those wearing gold tassels were those who had paid for the status of gentleman-commoner, thus receiving increased social prestige and more luxurious accommodation than ordinary commoners who wore plain black tassels on their caps.[2] Today, only the Chancellor of Oxford wears a gold tassel.[3]

In the Middle East, tassels were worn as talismans, especially on headwear. In Egypt, Mesopotamia, and throughout the Arab world tassels were worn by children on hoods or caps to protect them from malevolent spirits and ward off demons.[4]

Ceremonial wear

In the U.S., tassels, or liripipes, are also found on mortarboards during university graduation ceremonies and possibly upon the shoes of the graduates at the ceremony. Near the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, the tassel that hangs from the graduate's mortarboard is moved from the right to the left. Typically, the entire graduating class does this in unison.


Tassel making
Making a tassel from yarn.

A basic key tassel is made by binding or otherwise gathering threads from cord protrudes on one end, where the tassel is hung. This may have loose, dangling threads at the other end. Tassels are normally decorative elements, and as such one often finds them attached, usually along the bottom hem, to garments, curtains, pasties covering the nipples of burlesque performers, or other hangings.

A tassel is primarily an ornament, and was at first the casual termination of a cord to prevent unraveling with a knot. As time went on, various peoples developed variations on this, until by the 16th century in France the first Guild of Passementiers was created and documented the art of passementerie. The tassel was its primary expression, but it also included fringes (applied, as opposed to integral), ornamental cords, galloons, pompons, rosettes, and gimps as other forms. Tassels, pompons and rosettes are point ornaments; the others are linear ornaments.

See also


  1. ^ Joanna Banham (1 May 1997). Encyclopedia of Interior Design. Routledge. p. 951. ISBN 978-1-136-78758-4.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "The Chancellor - University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Jessica Kerwin, The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, p. 213
  • Guide to Passementerie. Scalamandre Silks. New York.
  • Boudet, Pierre and Bernard Gomon, La Passementerie, Dessain et Tolra, 1981. ISBN 978-2-249-25108-5.
  • Pegler, Martin, The Dictionary of Interior Design, Fairchild Publications, 1983. ASIN B0006ECV48.
Academic dress of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

The academic dress of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) are the robes, gowns and hoods prescribed by the Australian university for the administration, faculty, graduates, postgraduates and undergraduates of its Australian (RMIT University) and Vietnamese (RMIT University Vietnam) branches. The academic dress of RMIT is described as similar to that of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The current statute of academic dress was approved by the RMIT Council in 1980.

Ambrosia artemisiifolia

Ambrosia artemisiifolia, with the common names common ragweed, annual ragweed, and low ragweed, is a species of the genus Ambrosia native to regions of the Americas.

Ashtar (extraterrestrial being)

Ashtar (sometimes called Ashtar Sheran) is the name given to an extraterrestrial being or group of beings which a number of people claim to have channeled. UFO contactee George Van Tassel was likely the first to claim to receive an Ashtar message, in 1952. Since then many different claims about Ashtar have appeared in different contexts. The Ashtar movement is studied by academics as a prominent form of UFO religion.


Garrya is a genus of flowering plants in the family Garryaceae, native to Mexico, the western United States, Central America and the Greater Antilles. Common names include silk tassel, and tassel bushThey are evergreen dioecious wind-pollinated shrubs growing to 1–5 m (3–16 ft) tall. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, and are simple, leathery, dark green to gray-green, ovate, 3–15 cm (1–6 in) long, with an entire margin and a short petiole. The flowers are gray-green catkins, short and spreading when first produced in late summer; the male catkins becoming long and pendulous in late winter when shedding pollen, 3–20 cm (1–8 in) long; the female catkins usually a little shorter and less pendulous. The fruit is a round dry berry containing two seeds.

George Van Tassel

George Washington Van Tassel (March 12, 1910 – February 9, 1978) was an American contactee, ufologist, author.

Gold-and-white marmoset

The gold-and-white marmoset (Mico chrysoleucos) is a marmoset species endemic to Brazil. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest.


The hilt (rarely called the haft) of a sword is its handle, consisting of a guard, grip and pommel. The guard may contain a crossguard or quillons. A ricasso may also be present, but this is rarely the case. A tassel or sword knot may be attached to the guard or pommel.


Huperzia is a genus of lycophyte plants, sometimes known as the firmosses or fir clubmosses. This genus was originally included in the related genus Lycopodium, from which it differs in having undifferentiated sporangial leaves, and the sporangia not formed into apical cones. The common name firmoss, used for some of the north temperate species, refers to their superficial resemblance to branches of fir (Abies), a conifer. In Australia, the epiphytic species are commonly known as tassel ferns.

The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with about 400 species. Some botanists however split Huperzia into two genera, Huperzia in the narrow sense including 10-15 species of terrestrial temperate to Arctic species, and the rest in Phlegmariurus, a primarily tropical to subtropical genus of mainly epiphytic species. Huperzia and its relatives are included in the family Huperziaceae in some classifications, or alternatively in a more broadly defined Lycopodiaceae in others.

The plants of this genus generally have radial ranks of entire, linear to lanceolate evergreen leaves and dichotomously-branched (forking) vegetative stems. The spores are borne in kidney-shaped sporangia borne individually on the stem at the bases of unmodified leaves.

Unlike clubmosses, firmosses grow in clusters rather than running. The roots are produced in the tips of the shoots, growing downward in cortex to emerge at soil level. Horizontal stems are absent.

Icelandic tail-cap

The Icelandic tail-cap or skotthúfa is a typical part of the Icelandic national costume. Originally it was only worn by men, but starting in the 18th century women started to wear it along with the peysa, a men's jacket with a single row of buttons creating the proto-peysuföt. Later it was adopted for the bodice-dress (upphlutsbúningur ).The men's version is usually striped, while the women's is almost always black.

While the men's version was knitted from fairly coarse wool the women's version used a small string with a tassel made of fine wool and later sewed with velvet with a silk tassel (35 – 38 cm.).

In the beginning of the 19th century, the tail-cap was rather deep, but from 1860 it was replaced by the modern, shorter version. The tassel and cap are connected with a tassel-cylinder (skúfhólkur) made of silver or gold. The cap is pinned in the hair by means of a black knitting-pin but if the woman wears plaits, the end of them are fastened under the cap in the neck with a typical cap-pin.

Old Tassel

Old Tassel (sometimes Corntassel) (Cherokee language: Utsi'dsata), (died 1788), was "First Beloved Man" (the equivalent of a regional Cherokee chief) of the Overhill Cherokee after 1783. He continuously tried to keep the Cherokee people of the Overhill region out of the Cherokee–American wars being fought at the time between the American frontiersmen and the Chickamauga warriors under Dragging Canoe. He was murdered under a flag of truce while defending his tribe from white settlers.


Passementerie (, French pronunciation: ​[pɑsmɑ̃tri]) or passementarie is the art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings (in French, passements) of applied braid, gold or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beads for clothing or furnishings.Styles of passementerie include the tassel, fringes (applied, as opposed to integral), ornamental cords, galloons, pompons, rosettes, and gimps as other forms. Tassels, pompons, and rosettes are point ornaments, and the others are linear ornaments.


Pasties (singular pasty or pastie) are patches that cover a person's nipples and areolae, typically affixed with adhesive. Though pasties are commonly associated with strippers, burlesque shows and erotic entertainment, they are also at times worn as an undergarment, beachwear, or as a form of protest during women's rights events such as Go Topless Day that may avoid potential prosecution under indecency laws.

Santarem marmoset

The Santarem marmoset (Mico humeralifer), also known as the black and white tassel-ear marmoset, is a marmoset endemic to the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Pará.


The Sarcopterygii () or lobe-finned fish (from Greek σάρξ sarx, flesh, and πτέρυξ pteryx, fin)—sometimes considered synonymous with Crossopterygii ("fringe-finned fish", from Greek κροσσός krossos, fringe)—constitute a clade (traditionally a class or subclass) of the bony fish, though a strict cladistic view includes the terrestrial vertebrates.

The living sarcopterygians include two species of coelacanths and six species of lungfish.

Sleepy Hollow (film)

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American horror film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely based on Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, with Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, and Jeffrey Jones in supporting roles. The plot follows police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) sent from New York City to investigate a series of murders in the village of Sleepy Hollow by a mysterious Headless Horseman.

Development began in 1993 at Paramount Pictures, with Kevin Yagher originally set to direct Andrew Kevin Walker's script as a low-budget slasher film. Disagreements with Paramount resulted in Yagher's being demoted to prosthetic makeup designer, and Burton was hired to direct in June 1998. Filming took place from November 1998 to May 1999. The film has a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed approximately $207 million worldwide. Sleepy Hollow won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

Sonchus oleraceus

Sonchus oleraceus, with many common names including common sowthistle, sow thistle, smooth sow thistle, annual sow thistle, hare's colwort, hare's thistle, milky tassel, milk thistle, soft thistle, or swinies, is a plant in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family.

Sonchus oleraceus is native to Europe and western Asia.

The scientific name Sonchus refers to the hollow stem, while oleraceus refers to its good taste. The common name sow thistle refers to its attractiveness to swine, and the similarity of the leaf to younger thistle plants. The common name hare's thistle refers to its purported beneficial effects on hare and rabbits.

Square academic cap

The square academic cap, graduate cap, cap, mortarboard (because of its similarity in appearance to the mortarboard used by brickmasons to hold mortar) or Oxford cap, is an item of academic dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre. In the UK and the US, it is commonly referred to informally in conjunction with an academic gown, as a "cap and gown". It is also sometimes termed a square, trencher, or corner-cap. The adjective academical is also used.The cap, together with the gown and sometimes a hood, now form the customary uniform of a university graduate in many parts of the world, following a British model.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a gothic story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was first published in 1820. Along with Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween because of a character known as the Headless Horseman believed to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannonball in battle.

Wattle (anatomy)

A wattle is a fleshy caruncle hanging from various parts of the head or neck in several groups of birds and mammals. A caruncle is defined as 'A small, fleshy excrescence that is a normal part of an animal's anatomy'.[1] Within this definition, caruncles in birds include those found on the face, wattles, dewlaps, snoods and earlobes. Wattles are generally paired structures but may occur as a single structure when it is sometimes known as a dewlap. Wattles are frequently organs of sexual dimorphism. In some birds, caruncles are erectile tissue and may or may not have a feather covering.Wattles are often such a striking morphological characteristic of animals that it features in their common name. For example, the southern and northern cassowary are known as the double-wattled and single-wattled cassowary respectively and there is a breed of domestic pig known as the red wattle.

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