pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I didn't do this, I swear!:

I'm easily confused, but I know the difference between 100 cm and 60".:)

Edit: This might explain why I am so bemused:
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
If I've interpreted Ewing correctly in Viking Clothing, then he thinks the women at Birka may have worn a half-circle cloak. It's entirely possible that I haven't understood his arguments at all, given his tendency for rather vague sentences, but it's the most logical conclusion I can make about his work.

Figuring out what Ewing means )

Circular mantles? )

footnote )


Mar. 12th, 2011 01:34 pm
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I've been adding more to my shawl-related ramble. I still think I've got a reasonable suggestion for explaining the Sandegårda find, so my attention is starting to drift from the overall look of the thing, to the textile-y details. While my hunch that twill wools were used seems to be fairly accurate, and you could possibly argue for lighter-weight, easily draped fabrics as shawls. But my instincts about fringes and tassels seem to be way off the mark.

I can find textiles with fringes in Scandinavia before the Viking Age (eg. Huldremose scarf in Hald), textiles outside of Scandinavia before the Viking Age (eg. that Frankish mantle, some fringes mentioned on page 88 of Cloth and Clothing in Anglo-Saxon England) and, textiles outside of Scandinavia with fringes (eg. scarves from Dublin, mantles from Latvia)... but I can't seem to find any Viking Age Scandinavian examples.

Have I missed something obvious?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Continuing on, from 'the reader has to do all the work instead of the author just telling us his reasoning and sources', here is the sort of things I think may have been useful to include when arguing for a back-cloth...

Considering "it is unlikely that fashions remained unchanging throughout the two-and-a-half centuries we call the Viking Age" (p. 10), wouldn't you consider referring between contemporary archaeology and images important?

So, the artwork he is referring to is from Oseberg (9th c.), Grödinge (9-10th c., Wincott Heckett 2003) and Hauge (10th c., Horn Fuglesang, 1989).

But the textile finds he seems to refer to are from Hvilehøj (no tortoise brooches, 10th c.), Køstrup (10th c.), Bj 824 A (10th c.), 950 (9th c.), 964 (10th c.) and 965 (10th c.). (Birka grave dating is from the grave register in the back of Geijer, 1938.)

Now, the find Ewing focuses on, even giving us an illustration (on p.38 of Ewing, figure 47 from Geijer), is Bj 824A. Geijer (Birka III p. 167) thinks the brocaded silver bands came from possibly something with right-angled corners. It's not likely to be a half-circle mantle, but it seems to be something (according to Geijer) that may have been fastened at the throat that ran over the shoulders/back, and which may have been pulled downwards by the brooches. There is a lot of guesswork here, but Ewing never addresses why he thinks a garment that may have tied at the throat also needed to be pinned at the bust or that there are examples of graves where the brooches were pinned to under-layers, possibly to stop things shifting around on a corpse. (eg. one of the Køstrup brooches, and grave 31/1905 from Hedeby -- thank-you for posting about that, Engisdottir!) It seems to be much more important to state the theory rather than actually argue about it.
pearl: (sewing)
OK, what have I been up to in terms of crafty-ness?

I've made myself what seems to be the general interpretation of what Bau meant by a pleated train with shoulder-loops.
(Eventually I will put up my own photos, but for now, see these photos of a lady called Thorkatla, Gargoyal3, and these pictures from Bau's article.)
Edit: Photos of my dress dummy are now behind the cut, below...

Read more... )

So while a pleated train is a surprisingly wearable thing, I'm unsure that it is a plausible one.
Opinions? Comments?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
First up, a rectangular shawl that (despite the evidence used) is trying to look like a 'triangular' shawl.
(This photo of Sagadis looks closer to the tapestries IMHO.)

It certainly is possible, given loosely-woven and drapey fabric is used, to not get a point at the back, but to at least have the right angle at the sides. (And it works better if you're not using the relatively small shawl-sizes I've been experimenting with.) But I can't shake the idea that the shawls are functional outerwear as well as being iconic.

Oh, and because I need to put this info somewhere, which backs up the interpretation of the Clongownagh Bog find, I've finally found a colour photo of 'Celtic crucifixion plaque, 8th Century.' And there's something similar happening in the Southampton Psalter.
Other artwork is a bit more ambiguous and seems to show a garment in profile with 'points' at the front and back, if you squint (at the first picture in the first link in this post) the men in the Rolvsoy tapestry seem to have similar coverings. I wonder what they are!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, yesterday I posted a link to Corey's shawl idea, because even though the literature seems to generalise female cloaks/shawls as being pinned on the centre chest of the body,people like [ profile] engisdottir have pointed out the occasional exception in archaeology, and artwork that might back them up. (I don't know enough of the details to draw parallels, but this is also how the cloak of the 'new-style' Tuukkala outfit is reconstructed.)

It seems this might be a style that is more widespread amongst Viking Age women who play in the SCA than I've previously thought.

So, this page is an excellent example of the Creativity that happens in the SCA (goodness me, it produces some beautiful but ahistorical things!). But I was interested more in how she had draped it on her dress dummy, it looked quite close (without the overfold) to Corey's idea. I gather from the page that she got the idea from her Laurel,  who here says is Catherine Lorraine of Stonegate Manor, who was wearing her almost-identical cloak in an identical fashion while she was queen (second half of the page.)

Anyone from West Kingdom able to confirm or deny that this is a common way of wearing cloaks with Norse kit?

To add even more confusion and pondering... is this a guy wearing a triangular/diagonally-folded cloak pinned on one shoulder?
It looks really interesting (but you need ~150x150 cm square for it to work well), looks like a trapezium from the front, and doesn't really match up with the extant artwork I can think of, but it's certainly more masculine than a triangular cloak pinned on the chest like a woman.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Firstly, it looks like there is a new mailing list that may interest some people: Elizabethan and Jacobean Embroidery.

Secondly, this justification for using Oxford cloth is interesting. It honestly reads as documentation-after-the-sewing, but the author seems so sure that it is evidence that "...this fabric was used to construct the entire gown garment."

I can't resist breaking out my copy of Birka II:2 and seeing just what Hägg says for the rest of that paragraph...
Read some German and my translation thereof... )

Maybe it's just me, but if you're trying to justify an entire gown (ignoring if it's Oxford cloth or some sort of plaid-thing), wouldn't you use the part of the paragraph you didn't reference to do so? I'm confused.

And, to continue the 'interesting reconstructions' theme, here is another shawl-draping interpretation.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, here's my thoughts on shawls (and a little bit on trains). If it doesn't make sense (or I'm making some silly assumptions) let me know.

PS. I forgot to mention that I'm assuming that the textiles from burials reflect what was worn in life, I just need to figure out how to phrase it nicely. Because if the entire thing is just assumptions and guesses atop assumptions and guesses, it's good to have them clearly pointed out. :)
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Oooh, think I might have actually written up my epic ramblings about shawls into something coherent and under 20 pages long. To test this, I've e-mailed a copy to a long-suffering [personal profile] aslan, since he apparently has been ignoring all of my posts on the topic, so should be thoroughly confused by it all if I'm my usual nonsensical self.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Really, 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 [ profile] engisdottir shows here), 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!

(You can comment using open ID and don't need a dreamwidth account you know. I also have 5 or so invite codes to Dreamwidth if anyone wants one.)

pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Firstly, [ profile] teffania wanted to see what shawls wanted to look like on me, instead of what they looked like on my (comparatively) slim dress dummy.
(Thank-you [personal profile] aslan42 for taking photos and being patient.)

Big photos behind cut )

The other thing, is I'm still trying to figure out the Sandegårda find, and I think [ profile] hlinspjalda may have accidentally provided another piece to the puzzle. See, I couldn't quite figure out how the shawl fragments could have such 'weird' folding, but (most likely, according to guldgubber artwork) look symmetrical, and probably triangular.

Getting close to the answer... )

Ah, how I wish there was more evidence for plaid and striped shawls and cloaks. But they are so effective at showing how fabric drapes on a body. :( And that is a discussion for another time!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Continuing from my previous ramble, it was noticed by [ profile] teffania that triangular shawls when worn by people, don't look like triangular shawls in artwork.

For example (pictures)... )

There is a perfectly sensible explanation -- triangular shawls may look like triangles when laid out on the ground, but don't on a person -- they're shortest when sitting on the shoulders, and then the hem lengthens to the front. The trick is to somehow get rid of those pesky points at the front.

pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Inspired by [ profile] gargoyal3, who is currently writing a series of posts on images of Viking Age women, and how she has reconstructed their look.

So here goes, Ásfríðr's still-rather-fragmentary-but-looooong thoughts on shawls and trains...

Read more... )


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

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