pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
[personal profile] pearl
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.

Date: 2012-05-25 12:23 am (UTC)
catsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catsidhe
Ceremonial adj. (see also Ritual) 1. (Archaeology) "Buggered if we know."

Date: 2012-05-25 02:34 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Can't say I understand it. But after wearing a front panel while working in a kitchen for a week, I can say that it makes a great apron.
cathyr19355: (Viking me)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
I looked at a few of your above links and at Vigdis's page (the one you gave the link to below) and her page really scares me. It looks as though she and her friends are trying to make clothing that looks EXACTLY like the Viking Age images. But none of those images are representational art!

Detail vs. overall silhouette

Date: 2012-05-27 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gargoyal
I agree that we do not have enough evidence to recreate much of the detailed decoration on VA Scandinavian clothing (in general, there are good specific examples, but we don't have enough evidence to make large generalizations from them).

As Pearl pointed out above, there are LOTS of examples of VA Scandinavian female figures with what appear to be separate panels in the front. There are also lots without. When trying to recreate the general silhouette, it is important to experiment with what possible layers and combinations might result in the generalized image found in VA art.

Date: 2012-06-09 09:23 pm (UTC)
cathyr19355: (Viking me)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
I guess what really scares me about Vigdis's attempt at recreation based on the figures is that she and her friends are trying to imitate the appearance of something that likely is an semi-abstract simplification of real garments at best, and that her recreation will likely be taken by less knowledgeable people as "fact", and spawn more reenactorisms.

Date: 2012-05-29 02:41 am (UTC)
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
As an apron front, it makes sense (particularly if it's belted at the waist) in terms of keeping clean.

Although I haven't tried to wear a front-panel in this way for this purpose yet, that makes sense to me in a way that the "ceremonial" use doesn't.

Date: 2012-05-25 02:50 am (UTC)
cathyr19355: (Viking me)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
Beats me. I've never heard that idea before.

Date: 2012-05-25 04:12 pm (UTC)
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
Well, Vigdis herself says she got the idea from "Viscountess Inga the Unfettered from An Tir." According to An Tir's own website, "An Tir includes Oregon, Washington, the northern tip of Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and the Northwest territories." So Viscountess Inga is either American or Canadian.

By the way, your link doesn't work because you spelled out "[DOT]".

Date: 2012-05-25 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gargoyal
I can vouch for Inga :)

Inga is a Laurel, and one of the big movers and shakers in our local Viking Age clothing "study group". She is well respected as a researcher and creator of cool stuff.

She is from Canada (Alberta), but travels extensively.

In the last few years, including while she was Queen of An Tir, Inga has been wearing a heavily decorated panel over her apron dress. It has caused a bit of a "trend", and now others are also wearing them.

Date: 2012-05-27 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gargoyal
:P
Inga is on lj as ya_inga, but I don't think she posts much research there.

As for my opinion, that is a complex question :) Let's start here: I've been wearing a panel over my apron dress, on and off, for about ten years.
Archeologically: I feel that the panel is a neat solution to some of the issues with multiple loops on the pins, in odd configurations. Yes, I have heard all the wrap-around, multi-part, etc etc explanations as well. Are there other reasonable explanations that could be correct when we know more? YES. However, of the current possible configurations, I feel that a closed apron dress plus optional panel and train are the most likely, GIVEN THE EVIDENCE I CURRENTLY HAVE (multiple loops in many variations plus images of a variety of clothes).

Socially/Anthropologically: Who knows? I don't think we have enough evidence to firmly support anything about this garment layer. I usually interpret the images from VA Scandinavia as people dressed in relatively ceremonial dress. The women have big knots on their heads, and LOTS of layers. Most of these figures are interpreted by big-muckity-muck experts as being Goddesses or Valkyries, so I would guess they are wearing the absolute fanciest stuff EVAH. Including, sometimes, front panels.

Practically: I find them to be annoying as a practical apron, as I don't wear a belt. I tried it for quite a while, but it doesn't work out for me. Shrug. Your mileage may vary (mine gets in the fire). As a ceremonial garment, I adore them. They are easy to put on when you abruptly need to look fancy, easy to take off when you just as abruptly need to play in the fire, awesome to have decoration and fancy stuff on a separate garment instead of on my often-needs-to-be-washed apron dress, and they are great for the SCA. I have worn one in Principality colors when doing retinue duty, I have worn one with heraldry on it, I have worn half of the ancient two-panel apron dresses as one to honor the original owner, and I have worn one when I just didn't have any more of the really awesome fabric.

Here are my other posts on the subject: http://gargoyal3.livejournal.com/476030.html
http://gargoyal3.livejournal.com/476210.html
http://gargoyal3.livejournal.com/476900.html
http://gargoyal3.livejournal.com/476644.html

In conclusion, I think it is a fad at the moment (partially driven by that new figure and partially (at least locally), by Inga's popularity), but one that is not...unlikely. It does not have bulletproof evidence, but it has some stuff going for it. Shrug. I like mine ;)

Date: 2012-05-29 02:43 am (UTC)
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
I hadn't thought of a Byzantine connection before, but it does make better sense of some of the figures (e.g., the Leire figure).

Date: 2012-05-29 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gargoyal
I think that is a totally valid argument, it could be the collar and stole-thingy.

Does the timeline work for that? The decorative front panels pre-date the Viking Age in Scandinavia in art, when was the collar-and-stole thingy popular? Did pre-VA Scandinavians have enough cultural exchange with Byzantium to make it a viable transfer?
A decorative front panel attached to the pins would still work for a peplos, or the transition garments between peplos and apron-dress. It would be interesting to me to try to line up the images of women (goldgubber, etc) with the archaeological trends (pins on shoulders, transitioning into pins below collar bones).

Shrug. Without further analysis or finds, I don't see a way to argue that either reconstruction is "correct". I think the argument can be reasonably made for either :)

Date: 2012-05-30 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gargoyal
Well, I don't claim to "know" anything (grin). *I* have ideas with stronger and weaker evidence, and I rank them accordingly :) I think that both ideas have merit, and that the timeline would really help.
Unfortunately, my PhD is in a "go crazy and don't sleep but maybe get a lot of data" phase, and I don't have time or resources to devote to this awesome puzzle at the moment (grin).
Also, you do realize that the photo gallery of VA Scandinavian images of women you keep linking to is from the same Inga the Unfettered that we were discussing earlier? She put those up when we collaborated on that "trends" thing that I linked to. Though honestly there are not enough data points to make any kind of firm trend, AND the dates are so rough that it makes it hard to draw conclusions :)

Date: 2012-06-09 09:27 pm (UTC)
cathyr19355: (Viking me)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
I think the image from the University of Nottingham page looks more like a large brooch (possibly a bow-brooch, possibly a disk-on-bow brooch) pinned over the top of a bead string. Since the dating on that one is "8th to 10th century", that could easily be what's going on there.

Date: 2012-06-10 01:42 am (UTC)
cathyr19355: (Viking me)
From: [personal profile] cathyr19355
The straight lines could certainly be interpreted as a panel. But if the top part isn't a collar, it's less likely that the panel is part of the Byzantine garment. That's the only point I was trying to make in my last post.

Date: 2013-09-02 01:56 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think that the assumption comes from Flemming Bau, who was using the pictorial evidence to interpret the archaeological record. Interestingly, re-enactors in Europe have taken Gieger's wrapped apron, interpreted it as turned 90 degrees and now has it opening in the front, with a second narrow panel covering the opening.

Again, influenced by Flemming Bau, I think; that game piece from Tuse is used as the pictorial evidence, and jives with the archaeological loops arrangements. I'd love to know if they have any further evidence.

Now that highly decorated short apron thingy? Ehh... that's new to me, but I'm in Denver and get my notions from The Vikings Vinland.

Lijsbet vande Visschereye/Melanie Unruh

Date: 2015-09-30 10:28 pm (UTC)
florentinescot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] florentinescot
This is FlorentineScot in case something goes wrong with the log-in

There were no brooches at Oseberg because the grave had been plundered. There was *no* metal in the burial at all -- precious or otherwise.

Date: 2012-05-27 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] j_v_lynch
I'd never heard of this before reading it here last week. And then someone was wearing one at crown this weekend. It looked pretty sharp.
I didn't ask if it was ceremonial.

i can answer 90% of these images

Date: 2016-11-19 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] biggerbear
Dots often represent depending on wether their clusters or indivdual star groups ..to social ranking to souls or spirits ... i love gubbers and bracteate and to decipher their meaning..odd how transtion from early bronze age/celtic society and relgion was upcycled into all these images..hmm its all in context their shown in..in some of these images you have ppl kissing zombies and the dead and wights even blotrese... ( vampires)..yes very werid transtional bronze age / vendel/ celtic/ late viking age votive images for dead,lovers,travelers ect .. but i somewhat agree yes their two dimensional representations but the 3rd comes from study and expermentation to come to the answer... all of this imagery and hidden lil quirks make up 1045 yrs of my dna and culture and i must say those " experts" and" trowel grave snoopers" can only look at whats left behind and should leave the interpretation to those who have been brought up in this culture,relgion and life who know what it all means and represents " reenactorisms" are infact interpreting what they see, not blowing smoke acedemically about things they arent privy to for a reason..they arent allowed to know 1 nordic world highly prized secrecy and riddles and intrepting and testing was the name of the game those so intrested to view it and decipher would be appluaded by spirits of the dead looking upon them and trying even if they were inncorrect knowledge was worth more than gold to them eventually they would get it right and be rewarded with the answer and you would look upon on all these images with alot more love as i do when you know what they mean, i know ive paid the price to know and have studied and listned endlessly and it helps greatly to be privy by dna and tradtion to know..

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