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If you have come looking for information on medieval Korea, be sure to visit my website where things are hopefully grouped together coherently.

If you're looking for information about medieval sign lexicons, and language, see:
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I had somehow completely missed this, but the Museum Gustavianum at Uppsala University has had a series of online presentations for an exhibition called Bucklor på behagen – vikingatida kvinnodräkt berättar (Buckles on Bosoms: A Viking age women’s costume speaks). It appears the exhibition curator was Annika Larsson, though it appears other researchers were involved.

(The URL doesn't seem to be working right this moment, is it working for anyone else?)

In any case, it seems to give us a better idea of how she came to her conclusions regarding the open fronted dress interpretation she is now infamous for.

Part 1: Vikingatida kvinnodräkt berättar/ A Viking age women’s costume speaks [PDF]

Part 2: Siden från andra sidan jorden/ Silks from across the globe [PDF]

Part 3: Välkommen på maskerad: Klänning med släp. / Welcome to the Masquerade: Dress with Train. [PDF]

Part 4: Bland ben och bestar / Among bones and beasts [PDF]

Part 5: Var vikingarna blonda och blåögda?/ Were the Vikings blond and blue-eyed? [PDF]

Part 6: Speglar gravarnas dräkter verkligen den vikingatida kvinnans vardag? För bättre förståelse görs jämförelser med mansgravar./ Are the burial costumes really a reflection of the Viking Age woman’s everyday life? Comparisons are made with male graves to reach a better understanding. [PDF]

If I am following the arguments being made (albeit in a minimalist-text slideshow), then her argument is that the paired oval brooches are only found in the wealthiest graves (part 1 p. 9)

Part 3 is probably the most pertinent, though, as it spells things out clearly:

"Our hypothesis is that the clothing found in Viking Age female graves was a ceremonial dress. There are no
archaeological finds to support the theory that the dress represented moderate everyday clothing.... Recently, an archaeological find of a Viking Age female outfit was discovered in Western Russia. The outfit
consisted of an outer dress made of patterned silk in red and blue. To the outer dress belonged oval brooches, typical for the Vikings. Close to the body was a shift made of blue linen cloth. The shift had an
opening on the chest and was tied at the neck with a ribbon. The shift gathered at the neck-line. In the Birka female graves, blue linen cloth has also been found. There were lined cuffs found with the dress,
made from silk with a red bottom layer, and decorative ribbons cut from patterned silk. The outer dress was also embellished with exquisite lace from gold or silver thread."

Page 4 of the PDF is a stunning, and clear, illustration showing just how the Pskov "sarafan" was interpreted, with the taller panel pleated, and draped at the back.

Part 6 is also useful for illuminating how the open, trained garment is interpreted from "valkyrie" images, as unlike Bau's older interpretation the decoration at the front of the figures is not seen as evidence for a front panel, but is the gown worn underneath. Describing the Hårby valkyrie (mis-IDed as coming from Tissø) as:

"Several Viking Age depictions show weapon-carrying persons clothed in female burial costumes. The upper dress is open at the front and consists of a silk material with a bold pattern. A pleated shift can be glimpsed. This “female figure” carries a sword and a shield."


"The burial costumes of the boatgraves were part of the pre-Christian norms.

Our own time’s concept of dress conventions are built on Christian beliefs and cannot be used for interpretation. Christian law forbade the use of skirts for men. Women were not allowed to wear trousers."

There is also an interesting tidbit hidden in part 1, page 16-17. Boat grave 36 at Gamla Uppsala may have been cast as two shells, then riveted together, which isn't too unusual, but there may be decorative fabric between the two shells, possibly as a contrasting colour to metal.

Part 3 has a lot to chew over, the problem is that it is easy to think of rebuttals to the arguments presented, but because the PDFs are so sparse of information, it's hard to know why those conclusions are being drawn.
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Online and downloadable as PDFs, no less!

Habiti antichi et moderni di tutto il mondo... by Cesare Vecellio

and Jost Amman and Hans Weigel's Trachtenbuch aka Habitus praecipuorum populorum tam virorum quam feminarum singulari arte depicti

Share and enjoy!
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Susanna Kiitsak. 2013. Kõlapaelad Eesti arheoloogilises materjalis [Tablet Woven Bands in Estonian Archaeological Material] Undergraduate thesis, University of Tartu.
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So, I haven't been doing very much involving sewing lately, but I thought I should share what I have been up to - I've been sucked into SCAdian heraldry, which doesn't just deal with shields and heraldic display, but also covers names.

And it's me, so of course I have to go find all the interesting names:

Next up (hopefully) will be a list of names from Riga...
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While looking for images for an utterly unrelated topic, I came across photos of that tomb that has been bugging me since 2008. (Illustrated in Polski Ubior as a sideless surcote and ruffled veil.)

It turns out it isn't Elizabeth of Brandenburg at all, but Anna Cieszyńska (ca. 1324-1367), but at least I had Legnica Cathedral as the correct location.

Here are some photos and drawings:,277712.html,277713.html (With information plaque)

A black-and-white photograph from above, by I. Panic
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Hi all!

Archaeologia historica has put some of it's volumes online in PDF format, so here are the clothing-related ones I could find:

Archaeologia historica 36(2) 20011

Milena Bravermanová: "Fragment of a Funeral Dress and a Kruseler Veil from the Casket of Czech Queens in the Royal Tomb, St. Vitus Cathedral" / "Fragment pohřebních šatů a závoj, tzv. kruseler, z rakve českých královen z královské hrobky v katedrále sv. Víta"
pages 281-312, discusses a kruseler veil, another scarf, and a sleeveless surcote-looking garment that was believed to have had a separate, gathered skirt!

Archaeologia historica 35 (1-2) 2010
Milena Bravermanová: "Funeral Attire of a Czech Queen from the Royal Tomb in St. Vitus Cathedral" / "Pohřební šaty jedné z českých královen z královské hrobky v katedrále sv. Víta"
pages 202-222, discusses a possible sleeveless surcote (it's unclear if there were originally sleeves or not), and a pillow.

Also of interest in volume 35...

Zdeněk Měřínský-Rudolf Procházka: "Some Aspects of Everyday and Festive Life of the Mediaeval Man in Moravia and Silesia" /"K některým aspektům každodenního a svátečního života středověkého člověka na Moravě a ve Slezsku"
pages 7-44

Tomáš Durdík: "Some Notes on Everyday Life in Czech Castles" / "Několik poznámek k české hradní každodennosti"
pages 45-62 -- puzzle jugs, what looks like a nutcracker, gaming pieces and other interesting things

Markéta Tymonová: "Archaeological Evidence of the Everyday Life of the Inhabitants of Cvilín Castle in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age" / "Archeologické doklady každodenního života obyvatel hradu Cvilína v období středověku a raného novověku"
pages 63-79

Zdeňka Měchurová: "The World of Mediaeval Children and Games in Archaeological Sources" / "Středověký svět dětí a her v archeologických pramenech"
pages 95- 107: plenty of whirligigs rattles and ceramics.

Petr Žákovský: "Fresco with a Motif of Wrestlers from Švihov Castle in the Context of the Development of European Combat Systems"/ "Freska s motivem zápasníků z hradu Švihova v kontextu vývoje evropských bojových systémů"
pages 310-332 - covers Fechbücher, sculpture, frescoes, manuscript images, and looks really interesting!

František Gabriel-Lucie Kracíková: "On the Function of Small Ceramic Sculptures"/"K funkci drobné keramické plastiky" pp. 225-232
Lots of images of ceramic 'dolls' or figurines, naturally enough wearing interesting clothes.

Čeněk Pavlík: "Dragons on Gothic and Renaissance Tiles, or the Magic World of the Imagination" / "Draci na kachlích gotiky a renesance aneb kouzelný svět fantazie" pages 273-301
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"Fennoscandia archaeologica" have put their backissues back online in PDF format, again, including these treasures from 1987:
Jüri Peets, Totenhandschuhe im Bestattungsbrauchtum der Esten und anderen Ostseefinnen [Mittens of the dead in the funeral customs of the Estonians, and other Baltic Finns]
Appendix: Leena Tomanterä, Nadelhandschuhe aus der jüngeren Eisenzeit in Finnland [Needle-mittens from the younger Iron Age in Finland]

See: for more!
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Klaipeda University has put up more volumes of Archaeologia Baltica in PDF format:

You can only download the entire volume, not individual articles. eLABA does have some individual articles from 2006 and 2007, though.

Incidentally, Lietuvos virtuali Biblioteka (The Virtual Library of Lithuania) lets you search freely available journals if you click on the "e-žurnalai" link at the top right-hand side.
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"On Köhler's 14th century Chemise."

In short, the sleeveless singlet-like garment that shows up in "A History of Costume" by Carl Köhler, was probably inserted by an editor, Emma von Sichart, long after Köhler shuffled off this mortal coil. She used the photograph from Moritz Heyne's third volume of "Fünf Büchern Deutscher Hausaltertümer von den’ ältesten geschichtlichen Zeiten bis zum 16. Jahrhundert," but for whatever reason didn't bother to actually mention the chemise in the book's text.

Anyway, though the magic of copyright expiration, books entering the public domain, it is now possible to read the original, early 20th century descriptions of the chemise, it's find context, and some vague-as-to-almost-be-useless comments on it's construction. Hence the PDF at the start of this post, with some translations into English, and a brief summary.
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This is interesting, I don't agree with all of their conclusions (I can't figure out how the paired brooches were worn), and I do wish they had updated the PDF after the competition with photos of the finished pieces, but it's great to see people trying different things. :)

The Oseberg Cart Woman - C.E. 800

Also, here is an English summary on the Skjoldehamn find:
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Apparently people don't like looking at preserved corpses. So, don't click on these links.

I've been looking at more photos of the mummy from Osan, Korea, that is said to be from the 16th century.

English summary:

Here are photos (navigate with the arrows) of various stages of unpacking her coffin. I'm now very interested in the back of her head, and if the first image the page loads on ( is a small veil (garima?) in the upper right hand side of the photo.

And she had a teeeny tiny pouch!^con^b01^medi^click

Edit: and she is wearing a sock!¤tPage=1&listtype=0
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"Hoods, Mittens & Collars: Icelandic Clothing from the 15th to the 18th century"

Cool photos, largely of reconstructions. Can't find any photos of the originals online though, so it'll just have to do! :)
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Daugavas lībiešu 10.-13. gadsimta krūšu važiņrotas ar bruņrupuču saktām.
(10th-13th Century Daugava Liv Pectoral Chain Ornaments with Tortoise Brooches.)
by Roberts Spirģis, 2006.

It's a PhD thesis, and is very information-dense, but is also very, *very* cool.
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In one of those moments of "why didn't I notice this before," here is an extract from:
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. 1717. "Signa Secundum Ordinem Cisterciensem" In: Collectanea etymologica (Hanover); pp. 384–408

According to page 70 of Wilhelm Wundt's The Language of Gesture, (Walter de Gruyter):

"Leibniz left us two volumes cataloguing the Cistercian gestures: a Latin one with no indication of its origin, and a Low German one from the former monastery of Lockum (Loccum, in Lower Saxony, founded in 1163). The Latin register counts 143 examples, the Lockum one 145 examples of gestures."

I've never tried to translate Low German before, so we'll see how I go... I think the answer is 'not very well' - if anyone can suggest resources I could refer to, it'd be appreciated!

Updated, now with extra [personal profile] catsidhe-added goodness!
Signs no. 1-26 )

The only hint I've found for Dünningen comes from the 1650 Lettisches und Teutsches Wörterbuch, which has die Schläffe, dünningen., which may be schlaff of saggy, loose, limp, flaccid... or die Schläfen, the temples (on the head). I think it's temple.
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I've been sitting in on Facebook groups for Viking Age dress, (but I've been noticing it on other lists for a while too) and I'm fascinated by the idea, that the moment you add a narrow panel to the front of your apron dress, you're wearing a ceremonial garment.

I'm seriously questioning the belief that every Viking Age image found in a Norse context depicts a woman wearing the 'usual' outfit of apron dress, often with extra lines that are interpreted as front and back panels. And that's before you start questioning the archaeological evidence for such a front panel. Or asking about the rationale that originated the panel...

Sorry... this bothers me.


May. 9th, 2012 09:44 am
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I am spending most of my time at the moment in places with no mobile phone reception, let alone internet access. I know I am missing large chunks of people's postings on Livejournal and Dreamwith (not apologising for Facebook, I'm never on top of that), so if there is anything people desperately want me to read, let me know in the comments!
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I survived the Tasmanian Fungi Festival, and photographing some lichen in the snow!

Lichen! Photobucket
Coprinellus disseminatus (I think...), a saprophyte (wood-decaying fungus) in the forest.

(It's very difficult to photograph ice, I am quickly learning. I took a class on macro photography and the instructor was kind enough to help me out with my 4th hand, lacking-in-English-instruction-manual camera from Japan.) Met lots of lovely people in my backpacker's hostel, met interesting people at the fungal conservation and management symposium (and discovered it's a very small world), and now have a slightly better idea of what mushrooms and toadstools I am likely to run into in the field.

And I saw snow! Snoooooow!!
(If people want to see more photos, let me know, but they're either very Touristy, or close-ups of plants in the snow.)
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Digitised and freely available online (along with notes detailing what he annotated, and where!)

(And for the history geeks who prefer their history pre-Darwin, check out these beauties! )


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