Monday, 9 October 2006

Cute Seal

Seal-die of Isabella of Hainault
AD 1180-90, Paris

Courtesy of the British Library, who have a nice writeup accompanying this picture.

The shape, size and motif are
typical for a 12th C female of that rank. I know because of a very interesting thesis-republished-as-book I read on the topic. Heavy reading, but you'll be fascinated with how much information about 12thC women she can infer from a statistically large sample of seals and charters.

What I find interesting about this picture is that it isn't one of the calf length dresses (if you look very carefully the layer of cloth with trim is probably her mantle dragged across her body, or at least I think so), but she probably has a horizontal band of trim at her waist. That's a feature almost less common than the calf length dresses.

Mostly I just wanted to show you the seal because it's so gorgeous (an extant seal!) and as a lesson in being careful. It took me a fortnight to realise this might not be a calf length dress.

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