A glove (Middle English from Old English glof)
is a type of
garment which covers the hand. Gloves have
separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb; if there is
an opening but no covering sheath for each finger they are called "fingerless
gloves". Hand garments without separate finger openings or sheaths
are called "mittens".
Gloves can serve to protect and comfort
the hands of the wearer against cold or heat, physical damage by friction,
abrasion or chemicals, and disease; or in turn to provide a guard for what
a bare hand should not touch.
disposable gloves are often worn by healthcare professionals as hygiene
and contamination protection measures. Fingerless gloves are useful for
cold environments where dexterity is required that gloves would restrict.
Cigarette smokers and church organists often use fingerless gloves. Some
gloves include a gauntlet that extends partway up the arm.
washing glove is a tool for
the body (one's own, or of a child, a patient, a
Gloves have been made of many materials including
metal (as in chain mail).
Today gloves are made around the world. Most expensive women's gloves
are still made in
France, with some made in
Canada. For cheaper male gloves
New York State, especially Gloversville,
New York is still a world centre of glove manufacturing. More and more glove
manufacturing is being done in east Asia, however.
Gloves appear to be of great antiquity. According to some translations
of Homer's, The Odyssey, La
rtes is described as wearing gloves while walking in his garden so as to
avoid the brambles. (Other translations, however, insist that Laertes pulled
his long sleeves over his hands.) Herodotus, in The History of Herodotus
(440 BC), tells how Leotychides was incriminated by a glove (gauntlet) full
of silver that he received as a bribe. Among the Romans also there are occasional
references to the use of gloves. According to Pliny the Younger (ca. 100),
his uncle's shorthand writer wore gloves during the winter so as not to
impede the elder Pliny's work.
Gloves are also used for
ceremonial, and religious purposes. British and European
Ladies in the 13th century began to wear
gloves as fashion ornaments. They were made of linen and silk and sometimes
reached to the elbow. It was not until the 16th century that they reached
their greatest elaboration, however, when Queen Elizabeth set the fashion
for wearing them richly embroidered and jeweled.
Embroidered and jeweled gloves also formed part of the insignia of emperors
and kings. Thus Matthew of Paris, in recording the burial of Henry II of
England in 1189, mentions that be was buried in his coronation robes with
a golden crown on his head and gloves on his hands. Gloves were also found
on the hands of King John when his tomb was opened in 1797 and on those
of King Edward I when his tomb was opened in 1774.
Pontifical gloves are liturgical ornaments used primarily by the pope,
the cardinals, and bishops. They may be worn only at the celebration of
mass. The liturgical use of gloves has not been traced beyond the beginning
of the 10th century, and their introduction may have been due to a simple
desire to keep the hands clean for the holy mysteries, but others suggest
that they were adopted as part of the increasing pomp with which the Carolingian
bishops were surrounding themselves. From the Frankish kingdom the custom
spread to Rome, where liturgical gloves are first heard of in the earlier
half of the 11th century.
Women's Shearling Gloves Guide
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