Thursday, 18 January 2007

Dresses from Salzberg - Cod. lat. 15903 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

The source, courtesy of Bildindex:
Periscope book, Saint Erentrud, around 1140 (München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. lat. 15903)

  • Commonly known as the "Periscope book of St Erentrud", but don't try googling that, or all you'll end up with is a single link to this blog :-) (almost a googlewhack!)
  • Saint Erentrud or Nonnberg Abbey is a Benedictine Monestary in Salzberg (in fact it's the one in Sound of Music).
  • Like most Austrian art it has a strong italo-byzantine influence, but Dodwell says it also has an Ottonian influence. I think I can see this in the fatness and posture of some figures, and maybe also in some of the trim positioning?
  • I don't know exactly what periscope book means - no-one wants to give me an exact definition (it might be something to do with spiritual illumination)
  • You can see one colour folio (men only) on wikipedia commons.
I'm going to summarise all the women in this manuscript below, but I'm not going to show all the pictures - none of these women have the fancy calf length style I'm looking for at the moment. In fact, most of them are cut pretty much the same as the first picture, although many have less details (no trim on sleeve edges, or sometime less dangly sleeve).

folio 58: Helena and Emperor Constantine
  • A fairly standard full length dress with flared sleeves, partially concealed by a wrap
  • Trim on sleeve edges
  • what looks like a cingulum style belt
  • Most interestingly, the tight sleeves under the flared oversleeves are a coloured patterned fabric. Most dresses show pale sleeves that could be a chemise, but this one is either a patterned fabric underdress or a chemise with wide decorative cuff panels applied. And it looks like there is a different coloured band at the cuff, which argues for the former. Exciting!
  • There is something strange hanging out of the bottom of the sleeve.
Folio 102v - Christ and Mary (not pictured here - follow link)
  • Fairly standard floor length dress with flared sleeves.
  • standard pale wrinkled tight sleeves under the flared ones.
  • Something strange hanging out of the bottom of her outer sleeves too (pictured, clearer on this picture than previous folio)
  • shoes with line of decoration down vamp
Folio 84 - Mary gives Birth (not pictured here - follow link)
Folio 39 - The 3 Mary's at the Tomb
Folio 76v - Waking of Jarias' daughter
  • Nothing special, clothing mostly obscured by blankets, cloaks or people
Folio 81 - Mary dies
Folio 70 - Healing of the mother-in-law of Petrus (caption points out that's what the text says even though it's obviously a man being healed)
Folio 31 - Annunciation
  • Clothing mostly obscured by cloak
  • shoes show line of decoration down vamp
  • Folio 81 and 31 also show use of scalloped edges as trim. This is also seen (eg pictures) in a number of the men's garments in this manuscript: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    and as men's belts with scalloped edges: 1, 2.
Folio 71v - Birth of John the Baptist
  • pretty average European ladies
  • what appears to be a byzantine midwife -I've seen extant earrings before, but only from byzantine and Russian sources. I've read a literary description (was it in Goddard?) that good European women didn't wear earrings, that only shameless byzantine hussies did (or at least that's what the Europeans were saying - I'm sure the Byzantines thought something similarly uncharitable about the western Europeans). It certainly fits with the archaeological absence of earrings in Europe - metal is more likely to survive and the German empresses did get buried wearing jewelry. I'm pretty sure I've seen earrings in byzantine art. So I guess this lady is a byzantine or Russian lady, but I can't think why she is appearing in this particular scene. (were byzantine midwifes better? was there a Byzantine princess married in to that family?) She also has an unusual hairstyle.
    Folio 14 - Flight into Egypt
    Folio 15 - The Circumcision (of Jesus)
    Folio 17 - The 3 Kings
    Folio 46 - "Noli me Tangere" ("touch me not" - what Jesus said to Mary Magdalen)

    • Mary's Dress and sometimes veil & Cloak both have trio's of dots on them. These dots also appear on some of the other characters. They could annotate decoration, but I've heard this could also be a symbol used to annotate a holy person. A clear giveaway that this is so in some other works is when trios of dots appear on foreheads or similar non-clothing places. I can't see any examples of that here
    • Other details of dress are obscured by cloak
    • Folio 46 Mary's veil - which is dark coloured, not the more common pale
    Folio 27 - Presentation in the temple
    Folio 9 - Birth of Christ
    • Most details of dress are obscured by cloak.
    • Different Coloured sleeves to dress on both pictures. Does this mean Mary is wearing some kind of sleeveless garment (surcoat, pelicon?) such that we see this surcoat over her legs, but the layer underneath over her arms. Or is she wearing widely flared sleeves that are hidden under the cloak. I can't see any clue to them, so I think not. Could the artist just be confused? Entirely possible. I really need a picture that isn't obscured by a cloak.
    • Folio 9 lady's veil has a bit of a fringe, but it doesn't continue all the way around. Looks like artist got bored halfway through. Is there another explanation? The fringe has 3-5 strings that are knotted together and end in a blob. It reminds me of this Mantiple (Aachen, Germany c1200) where strands of threads are pulled together to pass through a bead. Except this one has a different pattern, and I think each thread ends in a bead or knot (knots would be nearly as easy to use where the threads gather together too. I've been considering beading one of my headrail style veils - because that would add weight to the lower edge, making it stay in place better.
    Not much exciting on the dresses, indeed no patterned fabrics, calf length dresses, or beanie hats. But the accessories are shown in unusual detail, with some interesting variations. I'll continue with the accessories the men have in another post soon.

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