A scarf, also known as a muffler, warm strangler or neck-wrap is a piece of fabric worn around the neck, or near the head or around the waist for warmth, cleanliness, fashion or for religious reasons. They can come in a variety of different colours.
Ancient Rome is one of the first origins of the scarf, where it was not used to keep warm, but to keep clean. It was called the sudarium, which translates from Latin to English as “sweat cloth”, and was used to wipe the sweat from the neck and face in hot weather. They were originally worn by men around their neck or tied to their belt. Soon women started using the scarves, which were made of cloth and not made of wool, pashmina, or silk, and ever since the scarf has been fashionable among women.
Historians believe that during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Cheng, scarves made of cloth were used to identify officers or the rank of Chinese warriors.
In later times scarves were also worn by soldiers of all ranks in Croatia around the 17th century. The only difference in the soldiers’ scarves that designated a difference in rank was that the officers had silk scarves whilst the other ranks were issued with cotton scarves. The men’s scarves were sometimes referred to as “cravats” (from the French cravate, meaning “Croat”), and were the precursor of the necktie.