, someone needs to tell me if I'm barking up the wrong tree (or just plain barking mad), because I've been thinking about this since around December last year and it's been sitting in my mind for long enough that it makes sense. I have no idea if it is making sense to anyone else.
Even worse, I can think of (many) 'solutions' and 'tweaks' to the theory, and I'm not sure if it's because I've fallen for my pet theory, or because it is reasonable. So, here I am ranting on the internet about it.
The two biggest issues, I think, when it comes to me and my weird shawl ideas is...
a) the whole unattested-in-the-archaeological-record/
differing-theories back cloth (so, Bau says straps. Hägg seems to think straps belong to other things. I'm an unpublished nobody who thinks an 8th century Gotlandic find is very important and is more akin to a second shawl.)
b) Getting the bottom edge of the 'triangular'-looking shawl to match up with the artwork seems to mean wearing it lower on the shoulders than normal, but front-on artwork doesn't seem to show this dropped-shoulder look. I don't have a solution. There is some contemporary Irish artwork of men wearing similar cloaks which might
show a bit of distortion at the back, but nothing Norse that has a similar look. Maybe it just comes down to how little we can 'read' from inch-high metal figures?
On the other hand, the second shawl/backcloth (Geijer's 'veil'... and I can find no
other mention of Vendel period women wearing veils. Anyone?) does have an unexpected benefit. If you're wearing a shawl lower on your shoulders, you're exposing more of your body to the cold than if you wrapped a shawl around you tightly. That second piece of wool seems to fill in the 'gap' and might keep you warmer, or at least warmer than having no layer there. And if you were using a small square, then you could cover your shoulders and not necessarily show a 'train'.( Photos of me with the funky-folded-rectangular-shawl and narrow scarf )
It's also entirely possible that after the shift in brooch position in the Viking Age from throat to chest level/below the brooches, that something similar might happen with the caftan (like what engisdottir
), which would also provide extra coverage on the shoulders.
So is everyone just being polite and biting their tongues right now, or am I making something that sounds almost like sense? I know I have a collection of Viking Age interested people reading, I'm curious to know what you think!
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