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"Zazpiak Bat" Basque Scarf / Handkerchief / Tablecloth

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Scarves44 of 56the letter "S" erte scarf that i bought today1948 Coca-Cola Silk Scarf - 32"x34"
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Posted 6 years ago

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This was found in a thrift store in Berlin, and I originally assumed it was eastern European because of the text reading "Zazpiak Bat." After doing a little research, I found that this is actually the official motto of the Basque region in Spain, where I'd spent a few weeks living and working last year.

"Zazpiak Bat" translates roughly as "The Seven are One," for the seven different Basque provinces. The Basque region is really fascinating in terms of its independent culture and separatist tendencies, and the culture definitely still feels very unique - unlike the rest of Spain or nearby France. The Basque language (or Euskara as it's called in the region) is completely isolated, one of the few remaining pre-Indo European languages in western Europe.

The central icon on this shows the coat of arms for the region (which includes the insignia for each of the 7 provinces) and is surrounded by other icons I can't identify, as well as four scenes of regional traditions (I assume). Not sure if this is a scarf or table covering since it's pretty large to be worn (about 3' x 3'), and not the softest feeling cotton material...any other input as to the specific depictions is welcomed!


  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 years ago
    Hi Hunter.
    I recognise a few of images used on the shoulder scarf/shawl.

    The four-lobed black symbol is a form of the swastika called the Basque Cross. It's name in Basque is Lauburu. In the Basque language lau-buru means 'four mountain peaks' ('four heads' or 'four tips') and it is possible this term gave rise to the name of Labarum or Chi-Rho symbol.
    "The Basque intellectual Imanol Mujica liked to say that the heads signify spirit, life, consciousness, and form – but it is generally used as a symbol of prosperity."

    So it will have all these connotations but it is also placed under four flags. These are the flags of the four mediaeval regions of the Basque nation: Araba, Biscay, Gipuzkoa and Navarre.

    Beneath them is the Basque flag with the seven regions ( from top left to right: Nafarroako Erresuma ( Navarra, Navarre), Benafarroa (Behe Nafarroa , Northern Navarre) Gipuzkoa Probintzia (Guipúzcoa, Guipuscoa), Bizkaia Jaurerria (Vizcaya, Biscay), Arabako Anaiartea (Álava, Alava), Lapurdiko Kontorderria (Lapurdi, Labourd) & Zuberoako Kontorderria ( Zuberoa, Soule)

    Beside the flags there are references to the Basque sport of Pilota. In America you might call it Jai alai. You can see in one of the corners some men playing ‘eusko pilota’ the name for a variety of court sports played with a ball using one's hand, a racket, a wooden bat or a basket, against a wall (frontón in Spanish, pilotaleku or pilota plaza in Basque, frontó in Catalan, fronton in French) or, more traditionally, with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net.

    On the scarf there are two forms of bat that are used in ‘pilota’: on the right is the 'xistera' or the basket woven racket that’s used in 'zesta-punta' (basket tip). The other form of the game using a bat called a’ paleta’ on the left.
    There is more information on these forms of the sport here:

    Then there are the dancers or dantzari
  2. Hunter Hunter, 6 years ago
    thanks so much for all the info vetraio - there's certainly a lot going on on this scarf! Really fascinating, and I'm glad to have learned it all. So many parts of Basque culture covered here - basically seems like everything except the food ;)

    Scandi - I actually picked it up after I'd been in Spain, but didn't recognize the language until a few months later (I barely learned any Euskara)...both Bilbao and Berlin were great.

    Thanks all for your loves!
  3. kivatinitz kivatinitz, 4 years ago
    It is very difficult to tell it in English but this handkerchif is marvelous
  4. Hunter Hunter, 4 years ago
    Thank you kivatinitz! :)

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