30 July 2012

Lengberg underwear: thoughts on the pants

Just pondering on the Lengberg underwear some more...

I am curious as to why some people (often re-enactors, or SCA) are so adamant that the bikini-like pants must be a female garment. The argument of "women must have worn pants" doesn't make much sense to me. We know that in many later eras women did not routinely wear pants (or wore crotchless ones), making that argument (at least in its most blanket form) false.
I can certainly understand the argument that "women must have done something at that time of the month" - but why does it have to be pants (a la mens'), and why does wearing something for one's period automatically equate to wearing something for the rest of the month too? This argument seems particularly nonsensical to me when it comes to the mid-1300s and before, when mens' braies were huge baggy things that would not be able to hold any conjectural medieval sanitary pad close against the crotch.

In any case, the argument I've been reading about the Lengberg pants in particular is that they look nothing like the mens' braies seen in 14th C and 15th C manuscript illustrations. True. However, a lot of those illustrations are French or English. Also, may I direct you to a woodcut and a sketch by Albrecht Durer: The Men's Bathhouse (c. 1498) and Self Portrait as an Act (c. 1507). Yes, these are at the very end of the 15th C / very beginning of the 16th C. However, I don't know how precise the Lengberg radiocarbon date of "15th C" is. Also, the images are from the correct country. In any case, they definitively show men wearing bikini-style pants.

28 July 2012

Lengburg underwear: more articles

Seeing as I know there are a few of us out there who are waiting with baited breath for any fresh details regarding the Lengberg underwear finds, I thought I would share these two articles from medievalists.net. The latter article is particularly interesting as it describes the four 'bras'/'corslettes', including the placement of the sprang which had been mentioned previously. Apparently it is between the cups on at least one of the 'bras'.

And, of course, now that I go look there appears to be several new articles that have popped up over the last few months, which I have not noticed before:

19 July 2012

Oddities: Full-face Veiling

Every once in a while I come across something that stands out as being rather different. Something rather odd.

Here is one of those things: in a detail from a Durer altar painting (All Saints' Picture, Landauer Altar, 1511) is a lady. She sits at the extreme right of the painting and wears an otherwise pretty typical example of late 15th C / early 16th C German clothing. However, her veil completely covers her face, revealing only her eyes.

That's the only example of full-face veiling I've seen in a Western European historical context. Please do enlighten me if you know of any other examples!

15 July 2012

Cuisses: pattern-making

Well, I was going to be good and get some photos of the blue dress to show off, but that completely didn't happen. So, now for something completely different, as the Pythons would say.

Himself has been scheming over a late 14th Century harness of transitional armour. Some of it he has already bought, some he is going to make and some he has yet to buy. However, it (along with most re-enacting things) got shelved when we moved. Now, finally, most of our stuff is out of storage - including the half-completed armour.

8 July 2012

Fingerloop: references

Here are some useful websites I've found so far for fingerloop braiding (or, more correctly, loop manipulation braiding using a finger-held method).

Fingerloop braiding ... gotta catch them all?

So, I promise to write about the wedding outfits soon. I just need to find some time to actually get back in them and get some nice photos of everything from a constructional perspective.

In the meantime: fingerloop!

I've been thinking about what I would have in a display of medieval textiles and crafts, given endless time, skills and money. ^_^ Of course, some of those ideal things are not at all feasible and others (e.g. weaving, netting) I do not know how to do (yet...?). Others, however, I have dabbled in and can talk about reasonably intelligently (at least to complete novices). It's just nice display pieces that are lacking.

I had a big debate with Himself about what one should do when reenacting and how it is best to display things. Basically, my feelings are that one can go down two routes - to be representative (and show things in terms of their frequency) or be complete (and show as much as possible, even unusual things or things a bit off your scope in either date or geography). I'm going to follow the latter in terms of items, then try to make sure I am representative via my actual conversations. I think it's easier to engage with people if there's more things on display - it is more likely that a visitor will find at least one thing interesting. Also, it is easier to talk about development, progress and history if you can compare it to other things not only verbally but also visually and tactile-ly.

Anyway, this all boils down to my first planned project: to be complete and have a full display of all the known 15th Century fingerloop braids. Which, having done a little reading, now seems to be quite a task! There are 67 braids in Tollemache/Harley 2303 alone. I'm not yet sure if I'm going to be able to find a like-minded nutter or two to do the multiperson braids with, or if I'm going to have to attempt to use this lady's method of doing braids F-fell so they can be singleperson.

In any case, it should keep me occupied for a while... so, watch this space.