pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
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.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
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.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, given the idea that some people have, where the apron dress is modified from Bau's idea, and pinned closed with a third brooch, and given that Inga Hägg can't persuade them, either, I thought I'd look at some graves, their clothing layers (according to Hägg), and the number of loops (according to Bau).

I would assume, given how stupid it looks wearing a forecloth/bib/panel on top, that we would be looking for graves with only one set of lower loops in the brooches, and a 'shawl' brooch. For the latter, I'm referring to graves where Hägg has determined there is a 'mantle' (mantel) or 'coat' (tröja) and an apron-dress (kjol), and from Bau's article, I am looking for graves where he lists only one set of lower loops.

Read more... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Apparently the latest issue of Threads magazine has a section on economical pattern cutting which features an 'Viking dress' and (from reading the comments here) a 'bog coat'.

So, anyone have a subscription and seen a copy? Is it any good? (I'm not keen on ordering it online when the postage costs more than the magazine issue itself.)
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, there's this stone carving, that Ewing thinks shows a woman, possibly Eve, "in a short suspended dress with paired oval brooches." (p. 45) "No doubt, scholars have shrunk from identifying this as a suspended dress fastened with oval brooches, because of its shortness, but in the light of other evidence for short dresses, this has to be the most likely explanation of the carving." (p. 43)

It's from a cross-shaft at Pickhill, in Yorkshire.
Here's Ewing's picture, here's the only photo I've been able to find, and here's a Victorian-era drawing from 1907.

I can't comment on how accurate Ewing's drawing is, given that I can't find any high-quality pictures of the fragment. But I do think he (inadvertently) constructs his interpretation of 'Eve' more likely to be a suspended dress by not including the remains of the so-called 'Adam' she is next to. Both figures seem to be wearing a tunic/dress of the same mid-thigh height, which seems to be pretty darn short when you compare it to most other artwork. The two circles might just be an attempt at depicting breasts, rather than a short, underdress-less apron dress.

Anyone have better pictures? Or know where to find them?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Found something I would have, personally, thought to be a difficult thing to pull off:

Mordvin omega-shaped brooches holding up a Scandinavian apron dress in Northshield. (From here.)

Seriously, I'm impressed, since my little omega brooch is too petite to hold both the upper and lower loops of my dress. And she's managed to fit what looks like wider, tablet-woven straps in there.

Less impressed with:

Guys, just because Raymond's Quiet Press says they were used for apron dresses, doesn't actually make it true.
Granted, she seems to be wearing a different version than Raymond's, as they have the integral loops which she has used for bead strands, but I'd love to know where the idea that they were worn with apron dresses came from.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Making 'improvements' from what I learned from my previous attempt, here is another go at how I've interpreted the double-wrap apron dress from Bj 563.

Sources )
What I did )

Photos )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Populärwissenschaft – eine Gewissensfrage? /Populärvetenskap – en samvetsfråga? [Popular science -- an Issue of Morals]
Übersetzung von Frau Professorin Inga Hägg [Translation of article, by Professor Inga Hägg]

It's a German translation of a Swedish article by Hägg about Annika Larsson's apron dress ideas. Summing up...
Read more... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Zierflechte vom Trägerrock aus Haithabu/ Decorative braid from the Heddeby apron dress. -- Experiments in getting the 6-strand plait to look like the diagram in the book, and experimenting in which order the colours are supposed to go in, too.

And another apron dress interpretation: this one has splits in the front from the hip-down and the darts run over the breasts.
(The idea of side splits seems to show up a lot on German websites. Usually from sewing two small rectangles together at the sides. Of course now I try to look for them, I can't find any such pictures. But this is certainly an interesting interpretation!)
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
The Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide has been refurbished! Hooray! (I was last there in 2007 for the Botanical Riches exhibitions that were all over the city. I'm an exceedingly geeky tourist.)

And off-topic question... people who have worn Birka-style apron dresses that are the open-peplos-with-straps style, how loose do you prefer them?
Read more... )

Edit: And another thought... why is it that (generally) apron dress patterns -- even the 'tea towel' sandwich board stype -- are usually reconstructed at around ankle length, but the Hedeby apron reconstructions seem to be as high as knee-length? Anyone know why!?

I'll try to remember to upload photos of my apron tonight, if anyone wants to see.
Edit, Again: Photos under the cut...
Read more... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Have you seen this, Folo? (click on the plow photo at the bottom for more stuff.)

Edit: Hilde Thunem's page about underdresses has something I hadn't noticed before. Where there are photos of two reconstructed sleeve styles of the under dress, the one on the left is an apron dress from Trelleborg museum, and it is the pleated-front style and it looks like the pleats are sewn down. Interesting!

and here's a mystery...

The last three messages of this Stefans Florilegium file about belts, says there is, supposedly, an o-ring belt 'on a woman's Viking dress' display at the Historiska Museet.
Here is what appears to be the reconstructed outfits at the museum:
and the only belt I see is on the man's outfit. Mind you, this photo seems to have been taken about a year before the commentator visited the museum.

So, anyone have any different photos?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I thought I'd show my evolution of pleated-front apron dress ideas...
including links to photos! )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Has anyone worn this style of apron dress?

How does it cope with you leaning over to do things? It would flap around less than a tea-towel apron dress, but the front panel still looks likely to get in the way of whatever you're doing.
It would also give more credence to the idea that apron dresses were a special-occasion sort of outfit, since if it is flappier than a closed tube, then you wouldn't be milking animals or cooking dinner in it. And the gaps between the back and front panels look like they'd be chilly too, another point for 'impractical special occasion wear'.

Anyone know more and want to comment?


Nov. 11th, 2007 12:29 pm
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I think [ profile] aslan42's niece did something bad to me when she was climbing into my lap and put her full weight on my chest. I haven't done anything today and I already feel horrid.
(Not to mention the occasional clicky feeling I get in my chest when I move my left arm around. Bah)

I've come a bit closer to figuring out why I'm getting so horribly confused about Birka grave 735 -- That pesky applique appears in interpretations of tunics, caftans, and in Ewings' book on an apron dress. Not to mention the previous post where everything else I read said it was from a male grave. I think the Gods are now just messing with me.

(Should be worth noting that it's the apron-dress interpretation I'm planning to go with, just because it'll look frigging cool and it's from a published book instead of a website.)


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