1557 "Bianca Ponzoni Anguissola"
by Sofonisba Anguissola
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
What is a zibellino? A zibellino (pl. zibellini) was a full-body pelt worn as a fashion accessory by stylish ladies in the 1500s, most commonly in Northern Italy. They used sable or marten pelts most often, but ermine, mink, and even lynx were also used. Zibellini frequently had gold or silver heads and feet, and there is also mention of artisans using jet or crystal instead of metal! Regardless of the material used, they were usually encrusted with jewels and sometimes enamelwork. Sometimes zibellini are called "flea furs" on the mistaken assumption that ladies wore these furs to attract the fleas away from themselves and onto the furs...this is a myth, as no flea would leave a nice, warm, food-filled body for an empty pelt! Besides, if you were a rich lady, would you want to advertise your personal cleanliness issues to the masses? No, zibellini were worn for high fashion, not personal hygiene! Click here for pictures of extant heads and portraits showing them in use.
Today, zibellini are still used as fashion accessories in renaissance reenactment groups, but they've also become popular as unique furry friends for anyone! Each creature in my Zibellini Family is one of a kind work of art that brings a unique charm to any home or venue.
Below are pictures of Zibellini I've made in the past.
(Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a larger version.)
***Please note: I am no longer taking orders for Zibellini.***
More interested in feathers rather than of fur? Take a look at my Zibirdies!
Zibirdies are often inspired by real birds, but they have their own flair! Click here to see the ones I've made in the past, and here to see the ones that are currently available.