Thursday, 28 September 2006

German Dresses with Wrinkly sleeve linings

Aldersbach Abbey, Cod. lat. 2599, fol. 106 verso,Germany, about 1200, (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek).

Mentioned in - "The year 1200: volume II A background survey" article in book: Wormald, F "The monastic library" p169-174
also images available on bildindex (click to load)

  • Apparently technique used is a combination of outline drawing with thin coloured washes.

  • Aldersback Abbey is in lower (northern) Bavaria (and has a webcam feed :-) )

"Philosophia comforting Boethuis Senator". (see also close-up above)
  • the character is philosophy - another virtue personified.

  • Yes those are words along the central vertical decorative strip. I doubt this is meant to be literal - I think the artist was just looking for more places to convey messages, like those held in scrolls (see her left hand).

  • another cute hat

  • look at the fascinating chemise/underdress sleeves - slightly flared at the cuff, and maybe forming a lining in the sleeve. There is certainly something forming that lining in the sleeve that wrinkles so artistically

Prudence as Queen flanked by contemplative and practical philosophy, above the king of Antioch and Nebuchasnezzar
  • 3 styles of chemise cuff- flared, decorated with braid and undecorated wrinkled.

  • 2 of the women's dresses are short, 1 long

  • sleeves fairly uniform in cut - flare from elbow, end halfway down forearm, similar length and shape, and have a ruffly lining

Rhetoric (with sword) and Tullius Cicero f104v
    • same features as the others above

  • Dialect and Aristotle f104
    • same cut as previous example, except we can see the neckline on this one, and it has an unusual scalloped edge - never seen that outside this manuscript

    Geometry and Cassiodorus f106
    • similar cut, except pendulous nature of sleeves exaggerated
    • scalloped edged neckline decoration again
    • we can see some lacing at her side!

    Arithmetic and Boethius f102v
    • Unusually short skirt, and worn belted (none of the other female ones are, but some of the men's ones are) which makes it a tiny bit shorter again. In fact the lower half of her tunic looks like a guy's tunic.

    • sleeves and other details are pretty much to the same pattern as preceding examples. This is one of the few examples with braid on the tunic sleeve cuffs.

    • Note how the man's (Boethius') tunic neckline looks like it is folded in on itself at the centre front.

    Music (holding a monochord) and Pythagorias f103
    • more of the same design, in the mid calf length tunic variant.

    • her neckline looks like it might be folded over like Boethius' neckline in the previous image

    Grammatica (holding lamp) and Priscianus f102
    • scalloped edge to neck decoration - never seen that outside this manuscript

    • strong folds at edge of torso - indicative of lacing

    • not sure if full or calf length - can't tell bottom of wrap from tunic

    Astronomy and Ptolemy
    • scalloped neckline decoration
    • Braidcases or some kind of enclosing wrapping over hair
    • calf length tunic, without braid on bottom edge
    • tunic sleeves drawn differently to other examples. These seem to have a lot more fabric in them. The folds at the edge are formed by the fabric of the sleeve, not by a lining. The fabric sits in folds on top of the arm, probably meaning some of the fabric is cut flaring out above as well as below the arm. I speculate this is one of the "waterfall sleeves" that Rohesia and others have suggested - imagine a sleeve where the end flares out in all directions - rather like putting your hand through the narrow section of a funnel.
    The linking factor of these images are the unusual sleeve lining. The last image is most interesting as it is different. I don't think the other sleeves are bad redrawings of this style. but I wonder if the lining could be constructed in this style, and then stuffed in a maunche shaped sleeve? Would that give the required effect? Maybe you could sew in such a layer as a lining. Or make it part of the same layer as the bit on the floor.

    Looking at the sleeves again, it is possible that the artist is drawing the front edge straight, and the back edge as ruffled. But that makes no construction sense to me. not only that you would expect both sides to fall the same way, but that the sharp maunche shape that gets narrower before it gets wider doesn't seem conducive to this to me. Oh for a colour copy of these pictures!

    And just to prove it's not a fluke, another manuscript with those sleeves:

    Legendarium austriacom/Tractatus de Sacramentis Cod. 311 ; fol. 82v-83r. Klosterneuburg, Northern Austria 1150-1200 or 1185-95

    Initial T- Saint Mary Magdalene
    Initial B - Juliana from Nikomedia

    Dodwell says Austria had very strong byzantine influences throughItaly in the first half of the 12th Century.

    And some images from the same manuscript without those sleeves:
    just to show that they exist in the same manuscript, and the rest of the style is the same.

    And annother:

    Lot's wife. Salzburg Antiphonary, German, 1080-1150 (library of St Peter's Monastery).
    • stylistically, I'd be surprised if it is actually early in the given period.
    • Dodwell says Austria had very strong links to Bavaria, and also some byzantine influence
    • Davenport says her headwear is a turban. Perhaps it is one like this. If it is a turban, then that is probably a scarf around her neck, with decorated ends.

    Friday, 22 September 2006

    Even more German dresses (Part III)

    With all this geographical stuff, a political map of the era may help. I have no idea of it's accuracy, but it looks interesting.

    A few more pictures from Davenport's "Book of Costume"":

    "Foolish virgins" School of Metz, 12thC German. MS78A4 (Berlin State Museum)

    • Davenport says they are wearing byzantine fashion. I think it looks rather more like byzantine influenced fashion. The parable gives no clear clues why they should be wearing byzantine dress, rather than local fashion. As these are the foolish virgins, one expects them to be fashion victims, with the most faddish fashions - as evidenced by the impractical loose hair.

    • Note several of the dresses have repeated marks on them. This could be meant as patterning or bezants, but I wouldn't want to rely on that. The saintly figure shown above them in the complete picture (not shown) wears a fully patterned fabric with patterned trim. So they could draw it so, although it might not have worked compositionally.

    Next, a few pictures from "The year 1200: volume II A background survey" Published in conjunction with the Centennial Exhibition at the metropolitan Museum of Art February 12 through may 10, 1970. Metropolitan Museum of Art (new york) editor: Florens Deuchler

    article in book: Wixom, W, D, "The greatness of the So-Called Minor arts" p93-132
    9.Paten of the Tremessen Chalice, Lower Saxony, about 1180 (Tremessen, Poland, abbey church.)

    • Seems to be some kind of seasonal theme, surrounding a crucifixion scene. The two pictured are supporters at the Crucifixion. You can just see their shorter tunic hems. I'm not positive the first figure is female, but I think so.

    Another one from Dodwell:

    "Frontispiece to the books of Solomon", a Bible, ms2456 f13. Tuscany, Italy, 3rd quarter 12thC (Museo Diocesano, Trento)

    • Umbro-Roman style - ie heavy byzantine influence, with some Italian moderation.
    • so the style is present in italy too

    Friday, 15 September 2006

    How long is long enough?

    I've got an inferiority complex about the length of my skirts. I always think they are too short - I figure they should be brushing the ground. But I've never stopped to check if they should be. I've been basing this bias on what I see other costumers wear, but from later periods, which may well have longer skirts than mine. I also don't have a pair of period shoes that I'm happy to wear outdoors yet (really must fix that), so my modern shoes lift me an extra 2cm off the ground. And 2cm is halfway to the ankle.

    So looking at 12th C artwork, an we always see a ladies shoes peaking out from the bottom of her skirts. Here's one example, and if you look at the way the folds of the skirts fall, at the very bottom they change from vertical to semi horizontal - flaring out and draping over the feet. But not by much. Some other artworks are shorter and don't flare out, a small handful are longer and have bigger flaring out bits at the bottom.

    I think my skirts on my red dress are probably not as bad as I think, so long as I stick to period shoes. You can see part of my shoes under it, but not all of them (and in some of the period artworks you can even see the heel of the foot), and the length is very practical for working in and outdoors use. Given that it is a working garment, I'm happy enough with the length. My green dress is often too short, but that's rather hard to measure as it depends how much I've bunched up the lacing at the sides on any particular day. I'll definately make the next court garment I make a cm longer than floor length though, just to be at hte other end of the scale. (to the despair of my laundresses).

    Thursday, 14 September 2006

    More patterned Dresses - Prufening Miscellany

    I'm not even halfway yet :-)
    The following entry (no 6 only) is also illustrated in Davenport's "Book of Costume"

    6.Prüfening "Vices and Virtues" Prufening Miscellany CLM 13002 f3v&f4 1158/65 (Bayerisches Stadtsbibliothek, Munich)

    • Prüfening was an (influential) abbey just outside Regensburg (then capital of) Bavaria.
    • Wikipedia (slightly unreliable, but so tempting, and generally giving the info i wanted most sucinctly) gives slightly differing versions of the 7 virtues and vices, but I think I can guess at most of them.
    • The complete illustration is apparently (Dodwell gives examples) full of paralells and symbolism.

    filia Babylonis (daughter of Babylon) with Cupiditas (greed),paralleled by Daughter of Sion (filia Syon) with caritas (charity).

    A King (Lido?) with opulentia (wealth/oppulence) accompanied by fortuna (fortune), opposed by prudentia (prudence/foresight).

    honortay petentia? (?)opposed by Mansvetd?(or is it M Ansu Etudo?).

    potentia (might) opposed by Longanimitas (forbearance).

    Gula?, (gluttony) opposed by humilitas (humililty).

    voluptas (pleasure) oppossed by sobriatas (sobriety/temperance).

    I think I've still got some of those pairings wrong, but I'll work on it. And I'd welcome info on who the mystery pair is.

    Those Patterned German Dresses

    It's been over 2 years since I last made a dress! An overgarment finished just in time for the second Yass festival. I've made a couple of chemise, a cloak, hose and sundry accessories, but no new garments. It's time for things to change in a big way. There are several garment's I've been mulling over for quite a while. One of them is a German style 12th Century garment. I've got a medium length of fabric that I won in a competition.
    It's been over 2 years since I last made a dress! An overgarment finished just in time for the second Yass festival. I've made a couple of chemise, a cloak, hose and sundry accessories, but no new garments. It's time for things to change in a big way. There are several garment's I've been mulling over for quite a while. One of them is a German style 12th Century garment. I've got a medium length of fabric that I won in a competition. Purple Cotton with yellow small flowerlike motifs woven in a repeating fashion. It's not perfect, but it is better than most of the fabrics I can find in the upholstery fabric section and I didn't pay for it. (I don't feel it would have been that expensive that it should be saved for good, just a lucky pattern find) The patterned nature of the fabric, and it's stiffness make it ideal for this project, as does it's shorter length - I'll be lucky to get a dress out of this short a length even with the shorter hemline of this style. If this works well I am eyeing off some pretty ecclesiastical brocades, but I always have trouble spending more than $6/m on fabric.

    Well, anyway, a couple of others have beaten me to making this style, but I want to look further into the style before I cut out (despite this project mulling in my head for 2 years). So I'll start commenting on pictures here.

    Starting with pictures from my favourite artbook - C.R. Dodwell "Pictorial Arts of the West" (if anyone would like to buy me a hardcover copy, you'll be my friend forever!)

    1. Eilibert of Colonge, top of a portable altar c1160, Berlin Stadtliche Museum

    • Presumably Eilibert resided in Colonge (or Köln) on the german/france border and copied local dress styles. I hope.
    • several women depicted, so a variety of styles. Can make two big divisions. The saints are dressed piously - full length dresses, lots of mantle wrapped around, veil looser around the neck. (not depicted).Youngg women with shorter outer layer, hardly any wraps or mantles, more decoration and more exciting headwear. From posture and comparison to other works, I think these might be virtues.
    • check out the hat in the last picture. I'm not sure if that's a veil or loose hair under it.
    EDIT: I've found colour pictures of this online. It doesn't add a lot of detail (the figures are metal with enamel background, so they are still single colour) , but you can see it in situ. You can also see some enamelled (ie in colour) biblical figures on the side of the box (you'll need to click on the image for the larger view) but the sides we can see are all male.

    2.Bjäresjö (Scania) church choir vault, 1st half of the 13th C
    • Scania (Skåne) is in SW sweden apparently (it was part of Denmark in the 12th C though). Dodwell has a nice map of all the (often obscure) places he mentions- It's right on the southern tip. Scania includes Lund too apparently. I learn something new every day.
    • I guess Dodwell knows his datings (I respect him a lot), but I wouldn't have guessed the fashion lasted as late as the 13th C. This looks more like first half 12th C fashions to me.
    • Note how white the layer that touches the ground is - I think this argues for chemise, not underdress.
    • It's a saint, with typical saintly veil and mantle, but still she wears the shorter garment and patterned fabric. Looks like it was a fashion with more than just young unmarried women.

    3. Helmarshausen "Presentation at the temple" Psalter of Henry the Lion, MS Lansdowne 381 fol 8, 1168/89 (British Library)

    • Helmarshauen is now a suburb of Bad Karlsruhe in central Germany (Hessen)

    • Apparently the vertically elongated figures are to be expected due to the influence of the english Matilde, who became empress

    • This figure is standing around looking decorative/offering blessings. I bet she's annother virtue equivalent. The pair of doves are probably for luck (not necessarily literally there) and I'm sure whatevershe is holding has some significance too.

    4.Helmarshausen. "The spiritual coronation of Henry the Lion and Matilde", Gospels of Henry the Lion from Brunswich, MS Guelph 105 Noviss 2°, folio 171v, c1188 (Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel)

    • Same style notes as previous entry
    • Dodwell's text implies this figure should be Matilde's grandmother. If not her, a family member at least. A real person, not a virtue!
    • It's tricky to see, but you can just see the white chemise peaking out from behind the border frame at the bottom left corner.

    5. Helmarshausen. "The crucifixtion" A Gospels MS 142, f90v, c1190-1200 (Dombibliothek, Trier)

    • Same artistic notes apply to first half (which this is in) of this manuscript as before.
    • I think the figure may actually be male, but I'm not sure. The second figure almost certainly is. Other figures presentraditionallyionaly dressed women with floor length skirts. Note how the first figure has a chemise/shirt that is just that bit longer than the second - that's what makes me wonder atgendereneder, despite the short sleevehairstyleirstle that is more likely to be male than female.

    Well that's enough for today. I think I'll keep most of the conclusions until I've posted more photos. Just one conclusion:
    Matilde's grandmother is shown in a garment that is patterned and highly decorated, and above floor length, so this is not just a style worn by literary examples, it is depicted as worn by real people.

    Wednesday, 13 September 2006

    Everything has to begin somewhere


    I'm Tiffany, known in the SCA (Krae Glas, Lochac) Teffania de Tuckerton. I also use Teffania as my signature for a variety of medieval related mailing lists. I have a blog on livejournal for the people who know me as Tiffany that is about my mundane life, and for friending people, memes and that sort of thing. (I'll only link to other dress diaries from here) This is something else - my dress diary, where I will keep track of my ideas about medieval clothing, crafts, history and assorted details, and plot and plan and keep track of my next set of projects.

    So if you are still reading, welcome medieval recreationist to my musings on craft, 12th Century Costume, fingerloop braiding, 12th Century social history (material culture and thoughts, not names and places) and whatever else takes my fancy. Maybe even some renaissance dance, medieval cooking or modern crafts, although I find most things eventually end up with a 12th C context where I am involved. (so call me obsessive - you might think it an insult, but I don't).

    Since a lot of this is going to be about 12thC Clothing (I have a slight phobia of spending money on or cutting fabric so plan things a lot more before I do anything than with other crafts), I should also point out the 12th century clothing mailing list. It's grown so astonishingly in the last few years, I feel like a proud parent.

    Read and Comment please - I'd like to hear constructive criticisms - you might just be the person to save me from making a mistake I'll hate later. And links to images are always most welcome too. Or you could just stroke my ego and let me know you're reading.