Tuesday, 28 November 2006

pyrography update

Since my last post on the subject, I've actualy tried burning some of the wooden objects i have around the house with dad's soldering iron. Not any that might have varnish on the surface - but i've picked up quite a few pale wooden boxes from $2 shops that look to have a fine grain and no varnish, a few scraps from the firewood pile, and assorted other bits.

It was a failure. The firewood was so lumpy and hard i could barely make an impression, let alone draw a straight line. The pale woods almost refused to burn. The soldering iron barely left an impression. I think it might have been too cool. I check his other soldering iron, and it was slightly worse.

I also meanwhile hunted down all the books on pyrography in my local library. They all assume you have already purchased a woodburning tool. I've learnt some neat tricks that will be great if i get something that actually burns the wood to a darker colour than weak tea. I've also learnt that different woods have vastly different surfaces in regards to heat tollerance. Some need the temperature up very high, and will still produce a very pale picture, others burn quite readily. And still others (like pine) have so rough a grain that they are hard to draw straight lines on.

I'm hoping the wood I had was one of the woods that needs a realy high temperature. Because then I can use a wood that needs less, given I can't change the temperature on the soldering iron. Otherwise I'm faced withthe unpleasant prospect of the soldering iron being too cold to do any pyrography.

So new ideas to try (that don't involve much money):

  • wooden spoons - I read somewhere thaat most are sycamore - a perfect low temp pyrography wood.
  • plywood snipets from hardware stores of woods known to be good at low temp
  • pyrography on veg tan leather (chrome is toxic, maybe alum tawed is ok?)
  • heating needles to do pyrography. First try my oil lamp, then over a gas stove?


[Note - I found this in my drafts folder. I thought I'd published it in late September. I suppose I'd better publish it now before I give an update.]

I have wood, I have soldering irons, surely I can do some woodburning? Will the net tell me how? If you dear reader have tried pyrography I'd appreciate advice.

I only have a soldering iron, not a special temperature regulated woodburner, but
this Professional pyrography artist only uses a soldering iron.

period pyrography

Given my normal google fu, that's quite a small list.

One of the tackiest "you can do it too" sites for a craft I've ever seen. Surprisingly they are in Werribee, not America. ($220 for an iron, I don't think so!)

how to:
  • The woodburner - forums. Yes they are selling products, but they also seem to have some interesting info.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Lippoldsberger Evangeliar

The Lippoldsberger Evangeliar (aka Hardehäuser Evangeliar, Lippoldsberger Gospels) was created between 1150 and 1170 in Helmarshausen for The nuns of Lippoldsberg. The book dissapeared/was destroyed by bombs at the end of the 2nd worldwar. Black and white photographs were taken of part of the manuscript in 1932, and one colour copy of the dedication page was made.

A history of the manuscript (in german) and the remaining images of the manuscript can are now online. There aren't many images, but they are quite detailed and lovely. The book must have been really spectacular.

Below are comments on a few selected pages.

Mary and Child

  • An enveloping cloak that also acts as veil covers Mary from waist up.
  • The cloak has some trim on the bottom edges and also head hole.
  • The cloak could concievably have corners , but can't be sure.
  • Under this a calf length tunic made from patterned fabric. (some sort of repeating rondell or vaugely circular motif)
  • The hem of the tunic is decorated with trim.
  • A white/whiteish coloured floor length layer (chemise?) is under the tunic.

Birth of Jesus
  • plaits/locks of hair escaping veil?
  • Tunic decorated at collar and cuff
  • sleeves only flare slightly

Dedication page
  • As far as I can tell this page is a modern copy, not a photo of the original.
  • 3 nuns in the border and the abess in the bottom of the picture
  • The nuns wear blue or black tunics (habbits) - the way those and their veils alternate in colour makes me think maybe they are all black, and the colour is just used to show borders better
  • The habbits look to be generic loose tunics with slightly flared sleeves
  • The veils are 2 piece - a white section (barbette?) close to head and neck, and a dark cloth that sits on top of this.

  • We can't see much but Mary's cloak, which also acts as veil
  • note the cloak has corners at front bottom

The 3 Magi
  • large square decoration about the collar's like I've seen on several extant examples. One is the Sicilian King William II's alb. I was going to write more on this, but I think it deserves it's own post later.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, ms. lat. 14159

The manuscript (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, ms. lat. 14159)was made at Regensburg Abbey (not far from Salzburg, Austria) c1170/75. It measures 31cm by 21.5 cm and has 188 pages. Pictures of most (all?) of the illustrated pages can be found on Bildindex.

It's a lovely manuscript full of nice details, so I have to share it! Or at least some of the fantastic Austrian Women's fashions in it. I've only selected the pictures that are most interesting to me (mostly shorter skirts) there are more pictures (includign more women) on Bildindex.

Thanks to Wencenedl for help interpreting captions and identifying biblical stories

fol.1r Ecclessia & crosstree

  • Well the modern german translation calls it a "crosstree", but it's a tree of life in the shape of a crucifix.
  • Ecclessia is the personification of the church. This doesn't seem to be a typical pose.
  • Ecclessia wears a calf length tunic with somewhat flared sleeves.
  • The tunic is belted at the waist (you can see the overlap of the tunic, but not the belt)
  • Trim is present at hem, cuffs and neck
  • Her hair is braided, but I can't see other headwear under her crown, but it could be the poor angle.

fol.2rTamar & signet ring & staff from Judah, Joseph & Potiphar's wife
  • wikipedia on Tamar: Judah promised to her that his third son, Shelah, would become her husband. This promise was not fulfilled, and Tamar disguised herself as a temple prostitute and offered herself to her father-in-law Judah. She claimed his staff and signet as pledge of payment. When she later became pregnant and Judah accused her of fornication, she produced the staff and signet and identified Judah himself as the father."
  • Potifar's wife is grabbing a piece of Joseph's (he of the dreamcoat) clothing to use as evidence to falsely accuse Joseph of rape.
  • Tamar wears a plainish long dress with flared sleeves edged with trim. A veil covers her head.
  • Potiphar's wife's tunic is calf length, belted at the waist with flared sleeves. Tunic is trimmed at cuffs and hem, and possibly a thin line at the neck too. Her hair is plaited, but there does appear to be something on her head too - a beanie hat?
  • Wencenedl notes that Tamar is dressed as a prostitute (veiled!) and pontifar's wife should be dressed as a respectable wife. As both are on the same page, it's reasonable to expect the artist to have compared them.....And yet Tamar is more conservative, veiled (even as a prostitute).

fol.3r Jael kills Sisera, Rahab hangs a red rope in the window
  • Jael killed a fleeing enemy army captain (by driving a tent peg through his head as he slept), thus preventing him returning with a new army.
  • Rahab (a former prostitute) hid Jewish spies investigating the siege of Jericho. On the spies instructions she hung a red cord out the window,and thus her family was spared from massacre when the siege was broken.
  • Jael (with the lovely chisel and mallet action) has one of her sleeves tucked back behind her elbow as she works
  • Both ladies wear small beanie hats over veils (or possibly wimples) although Jael's is the classic shape, and Rahab's is split at the front like 2 leaves
  • Rahab's dress has Byzantine influenced decoration on the front panel
  • Again there appears to be no important difference in dress code between the (at some stage reformed) prostitute and the respectable householder.

fol.3v Jephta sacrificers his daughter
  • This appears to confirm the idea that unmarried women/girls would wear their hair loose while older ones would tie it up or cover it with a veil.

fol.4r Elias and the widow of Zarephta
  • Wikipedia (that wonderful source of dubious info) says " the prophet Elijah, .... multiplied the meal and oil of the widow of Zarephath (Sarepta) and raised her son from the dead"
  • She is dressed in a calf length tunic, belted at the waist. Trim is present at hem and cuffs.
  • She wears a veil over the dress.

fol.4v Judith kills Holofernes
  • Judith is a jewish folk hero, seducing an enemy army captain (Holofernes) so she could kil him in his sleep. (look at teh parallels with Jael)
  • Judith wears a tunic with flared sleeves, belted waist and decoration at collar and cuff.
  • Her lower body is not visible.
  • The cuff of the garment under her tunic (chemise or underdress) is decorated with trim.
  • She wears a veil, but it does not cover the decoration at the collar (so does Rahab above). I've supposed several other examples of dreses without decoration at collar were such because a veil rendered the decoration imposible to see/draw, but this disproves this as a constant fact. (it may still be true sometimes).
  • There is annother man on this page (not pictured - follow link) wearing a beanie hat, this one flat across the bottom.

fol.5r Superbia vanquished by Humilitas
  • Superbia or Pride is one of the personified vices, and Humilitas/Humility her opposite virtue.
  • Look at the lovely depictions of braided hair. Looks just like a 3 strand plait.
  • Humility wears a long tunic with flared cuffs. It is decorated at cuff and collar. It is probably belted at the waist. She wears a beanie hat over her plaits (doesn't seem to be a veil) , that again vees above the forehead.
  • What is visible of Superbia's clothing is almost identical, except no hat.
  • Medieval bestiaries (eg Aberdeen bestiary) draw links between a peacock's brilliant plumage and vanity, showing a consciousness of pride of appearance, and yet Superbia is not dressed any more vainly than Humilitas. While Pride takes in a much greater scope than simple narcissism, it does include it. So I find it surprising that this simple to show symptom of one type of pride isn't used to help build the stereotype of Pride. They just don't seem to have chosen this option. So I can't consequently draw any links between Humility's clothes and what was modest clothing of the day. Damn.

fol.5v The mystical Paradise (Not pictured - follow link)
  • Supporters include several virtues wearing clothing in the same style as the above examples. I haven't included them as we can only see their upper bodies.
  • The central figure (Jesus?) has a nice example of a beanie hat that vees at the forehead.

fol.6r Cross filled with people (Not pictured - follow link)
  • Several female supporters (possibly virtues?) in the same mould as the figures above.
  • Hair worn loose, only upper body visible.

Other pages from this manuscript on bildindex:
fol.1v, fol.2v, fol.8v, fol.9r, fol.46v, fol.187v, fol.188v.

  • This style does seem to be consistant with the other manuscripts of the area and time. (i'll try to explain why I think this in a later post hopefully.
  • There doesn't seem to be any clothing conventions to mark women as prositutes in this time and place.
  • New dress features: beanie hats that aren't flat along their bottom edge.

Friday, 10 November 2006

Chapes - pictures of ordinary people and travellers

This continues from the previous post on shepherds and peasants.

I guess i should have explained more fully in the last part that I'm showing pictures of hoods as well as hooded cloaks, because I see so little differentiation between the two. If you can draw up a simple rule to tell me when a hood with a long bottom becomes a short hooded cloak, please tell me. And besides, hoods may provide valuable construction clues about hooded cloaks, besides being interesting in themselves. While I'm adding examples, it seemed sensible to add hooded tunics.

Oh, and I'm putting in some 13th Century examples too because I think the style may not have changed much and it's worth considering them (with due care for stylistic changes) even for 12th C evidence.

So, some common people in cloaks:

Bibliothèque nationale de France Division occidentale Latin 14771(bible at pent lv glos. ) 12thC France
Fol 1. Moïse et le taureau du sacrifice

  • man in centre (behind two other men) has a very pointy dark red hood
  • There are traces of red lower in the pictures, so this could be a cloak or tunic, but I can't be sure.

Chartres Cathedral carving
13th C France
February – Man warming himself

  • Note this is 13th C
  • Might just be a rectangular cloak draped over the head and fastened at the neck
  • notice how he wears what is probably a coif under it.

Belvior Castle manuscript (Rutland Psalter)
Mid 13th C English, Salisbury

  • Note this is 13th C
  • Both hoods have very pointy ends, drawn out a bit like a short liripipe
  • both hoods have a clear seam down the top of the head

British Library MS Cotton Nero C. IV (Winchester Psalter)
Winchester [Priory of St Swithun or Hyde Abbey], England; between 1121 and 1161
Folio21Betrayal and Flagellation. Spectator pictured with flail and lamp

  • A cloak with hood. Can't tell if it is fastened at the front or pullover style
  • This hood is strangely vertical
  • The hood is much looser at the neck than other examples

The Hague, KB, 76 F 13 (Fecamp Psalter ) Normandy (Fécamp?); c. 1180
Fol. 2v February: a man warming himself at a fire

  • cloak with hood. No front opening

  • very pointy hood. Points upward from the head rather than backwards

  • There is a slight notch at the front neck. I think this might be a keyhole neckline.

Another group that used cloaks were travellers - the chape was the medieval raincoat.

Morgan Library M710 (Abbot Berthold Missal)
Germany 1200-1252

  • Note 13thC
  • This second traveller may be the abbot (hence wearing a cowl (ecclesiastical chape) rather than secular chape
  • Notice how his has sleeves

Thott 143 2º: (The Copenhagen Psalter )
England, 1175-1200.
Fol 11r. The Adoration of the Magi, Fol.12r. The flight into Egypt

  • The magi king wears a cloak that has a hood. It's possible that this is a cunningly folded fold in a rectangular cloak, but the flow of the rest of the cloak is sufficiently similar to other cloaks on this page that I'd say it's based on a circle
  • Note the wonderfully rich (expensive ) colour of his cloak.
  • In the second image, the traveller on the left wears a hooded cloak with an exaggerated rounded point. It's longer at the back than front.
  • His cloak sits with a point at the bottom of the hood neck opening. That's a rather particular set of stresses, and not just a straight round hole.
  • Mary could be wearing a cloak, but i think it's more likely she wears a wrap - an extra large veil type thing
  • The third figure (Jospeh I assume) wears a cloak with no visible hood -although one may be hidden, it's more likely he is depicted in a mantle

Morgan Library ms m.638 (Maciejowski Bible), Paris 1244-1254AD
leaf 10. The Gibeonites sue for peace with Joshua and the Israelites.
fol 45r. David flees Jerusalem, His steward Ziba (pictured), goads mules with supplies

  • Note 13th C
  • The first few Gibeonites wear (rather worn) hooded tunics with attached hoods and short sleeves with slits underneath so they can be worn as surcoats
  • The man riding a horse wears a hood like the ones we saw in the depiction of shepherds from the same manuscript
  • The last boy wears a hood which is different - it is tight at the neck and doesn't extend to the shoulders
  • second picture depicts a hooded cloak with no front opening
  • I think I can see a fine line running along the top edge of the hood, a seam?
  • slightly longer at back

Venice, Marciana Library Psalterium cum Cantis, 13th Century
St Eustice

  • Note 13thC
  • Sort of a cross between tunic and cloak.
  • The sleeve are much longer than his arms, and quite wide the ends would hang over the hands, keeping them warm and dry.
  • Slits under the arms allow him to wear it as a sleeveless surcoat
  • there is a line at the front of the neck - a line of stitching or a fastened keyhole?
  • The hood is tightly fitted and pointy along the top edge.

  • Even high ranking nobles (eg magi) are depicted wearing mantles occasionally when travelling.
  • There is plenty of evidence for a seam along the top edge of the hood
  • Some of these hoods appear to open a little ways down the neck at the front, possibly a keyhole or some other device to allow the head through more easily without making the hole hood larger
  • Two common styles of hood seem to be one where the point points to the top seam, (end of point tends to sit higher than the top of the head) and another that points downwards with a softer more rounded and generally longer point.
  • Cloaks sometimes have sleeves.
Next: Priests, miscellaneous images

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

The Chape (hooded cloak) - pictures of Shepherds and peasants

I made a hooded cloak for Rowany Festival this year. I think I need to share the documentation I managed for this around a bit, because most people (including me a year ago) think hoods and hooded cloaks didn't exist in the 12th Century, and this will prove to you, dear reader, that that is just not true.

This is going to take a few entries, so please be patient. (or nag me, sometimes it works)

Let's start with pictures of shepherds wearing hoods and hooded cloaks. One of the main reasons we see a lot of unhooded cloaks is because of the mantle. The mantle was the cloak of the nobility, a ceremonial garment (frequently heavily decorated) and a marker of rank. Thus when nobles are depicted in art, it is generally wearing that marker of their rank. I mean would you depict a policeman as a plainclothes detective or a bobby in uniform if you wanted an audience to know what was happening? Precisely. Literary references tell us that the french and Anglo-Norman nobility wore hooded cloaks while travelling and for lower classes this was the only type of cloak available - called the chape. I'll get to those references later, but for now, I'm telling you this, in relation to shepherds - shepherds are depicted often as part of the nativity story and are stereotypically low ranked people who work outdoors. Thus they are a great place to look for what peasants wore outdoors.

The Hague, KB, 76 F5 (Picture bible )
North-western France (Monastery St. Bertin?) c. 1200
Fol. 10v Annunciation of Christ's birth to the shepherds

  • A hooded cloak, may or may not open at the neck. Hood tapers to a rounded end.
  • cloak has a bit of a corner at the hem, or is it just the way it folds?

British Library MS Cotton Nero C. IV (Winchester Psalter) Winchester [Priory of St Swithun or Hyde Abbey], England; between 1121 and 1161
Folio11 Annunciation to the shepherds

  • Plenty of Variety means there were probably plenty of options available.
  • Some hooded cloaks that either fasten at the neck or are sewn together there (seems less likely). Note how these are much longer at back than front.
  • Also notice the corner on the cloak hem of the man on the left - I have a theory about this, that I'll write about eventually.
  • The Hood appears to have been made from fur or sheepskin, by the texture depicted.
  • The remaining cloak is difficult to tell details on, other than being hooded, and longer than a normal hood.

St Albans Psalter
England c1120-1140
page22: the annunciation to the Shepherds

  • An orange hood and a red cloak that doesn't open at front.
  • Both have yellow lines at edges - probably indicate a lining or binding
  • both have a seam down the top of the head.
  • lines also indicate stitching along edges with yellow borders, and i think there might be a seam down the arm of the orange hood. This implies that there aren't any other seams present.

Chartres Cathedral carving, 12th-13th C France
Shepherds in Summer

  • Man on left wearing A short hood with fairly pointed back of head
  • Man on right's cloak stands up a little on the left of his head, this may be a hood that is not pulled up?

Thott 143 2º: The Copenhagen Psalter
England, 1175-1200Figure 13. Thott 143 2º: The Copenhagen Psalter
England, 1175-1200.
Fol9r. The Annunciation to the Shepherds.

  • Hood has a bit of a slit at the front neck. This probably makes it easier to pull on. And could mean a seam is located here.
  • The back of the hood is much longer and less pointy

Morgan Library ms m.638 (Maciejowski Bible)
Paris 1244-1254AD
Fol 32r. David obtains Goliath's sword, bystander holding shepherds crook Fol 27r. The shepherd, David
Fol. 25r. The shepherd, David

  • Note - 13th C example
  • The left two seem to have left out a gore on the hood to make it easier to move the arms.
  • There is a strange notch at bottom front that may mean a seam is located here?
  • The one on the right is more conventional, a bit longer at the back than front.
  • It appears to be lined
  • At the front of the neck there is a small line which may mean a seam here.
Frescoes from the vault of the Pantheon of Kings
Leon, San Isidro 12th Century
Annunciation to the Shepherds

  • Cloak with hood, front opening
  • Notice how the cloak has a corner at the hem.

Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, Ms17325 Periscope book
Rhine-Weser region c1140
Fol 8vAnnunciation to the shepherds

  • Might just be a hat thats been knocked off, but objects are rarely shown in motion
  • the collar section around his neck is fur. That could mean a fur hood or just a hooded tunic with fur collar, or something else entirely.

Peasants working in the fields is also a subject that gets illustrated to represent the seasons in calendars.

The Hague, KB, 76 F 13 (Fecamp Psalter )Normandy (Fécamp?); c. 1180
Fol. 3v March: men pruning
Fol. 3v March: men tying up and planting vines
Fol. 10v October: men sowing and ploughing;

  • Hooded tunics - practical for working. Not just for monks.
  • Notice the seam down the top of the hood on the left.
  • very pointy hoods. Notice how the one on the left remains pointy even when off the head.

Figure 17. Morgan Library ms m.638 (Maciejowski Bible,)Paris 1244-1254AD
Fol 17v. Ruth dines with boaz (peasant meal just after harvest)

  • Another 13th C example
  • Lots of hoods, with notches at centre front - a seam here?

Figure 18-19. Florence, Laurentiana MS Plut. XII 17
Canterbury early 12th Century
Fol 1v The bad and the good and regiment

  • on the left a hooded cloak, no front opening, longer at back
  • a seam along the top of the head
  • On the right, a hooded tunic

  • There were a variety of hoods and hooded garments worn by peasant folk. It is definitely from this pictorial evidence that hoods and hooded cloaks are being worn in the 12th Century
  • The variety of shapes probably indicates a variety of ways of cutting such garments
  • Quite a few examples have a seam down the top of the head. Most of these are pointier than the rest.

Next Installment: The common man and travellers.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

22 pennons and a standard

I've noticed that the Austrian manuscripts I've been looking at, including one in particular have quite a few pictures of pennons being carried in battle standard manner, of flying from flagpoles. Or at least quite a few by 12th C illustration standards.

Fol.26 Storm on the lake, Fol. 46 Christ and Mary Magdalen in the garden,

Fol. 60 Ascension, and Fol. 86v Heraclius brings the cross back, Periscope book, Saint Erentrud Abbey, Salzburg around 1140 (München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod. lat. 15903)

Fol. 27v Ressurection and Fol. 35 Ascension. Regensburg, 1101/1200 (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Inventar-Nr. Cod.lat.23 339)

Fol. 95v Initial C with Christ Ascending Brevarium, Michaelburn Abbey, 1161-71, (Cod. lat. 8271 Munchen Staatsbibliothek,)

Once you start looking, quite a few others in lit. (none so many as the Austrians though) Here's a handful:

Fol. 23r the 3 Marys at the tomb Fecamp Psalter, Normandy (Fécamp?) c. 1180 (Den Haag, KB, 76 F 13)

folio 6 Ascension, Lippoldsberger Evangeliara> 1150-70 Helmarshausen, Saxony, Germany

f. 7v Detail of Moses and Gideon in armour with a shield.
Psalter of Henry the Lion Helmarshausen, NW. Germany, c. 1168-1189 (British Library MS. Lansdowne 381)

f.30 The Virgin enthroned, between two archangels (bearing standards) Winchester Psalter. Winchester, England, 1121-61 (British Library Ms Cotton Nero C. IV)

Fol. 51r David and Goliath Arras psalter Northwest France (Arras?); c. 1175 (Den Haag, KB, 76 E 11)

Joshua's assembly of the 'princes of the people' , Winchester Bible
Winchester, England c. 1160-80

The Battle of the Lamb, Northern Spain, c.1200

Fol. 21v The Resurrection: Christ steps out of his tomb and
Fol. 1r
The knights of the cross, led by St. George, pursue the Saracens. St. Bertin Monastery ?, North-western France c. 1200. (The Hague, KB, 76 F 5)

p49The Harrowing of Hell, St Albans Psalter. St Albans Abbey, Herefordshire, England c.1135

Redemption window (central section), Châlons-sur-Marne Cathedral, northeast France c. 1147. (Châlons-sur-Marne, Cathedral Treasury)

King Vratislav of Bohemia and other figures. Wall painting, 1134 Znojmo,Sth of Czech Republic (Znojmo castle chapel.)

Christ appearing to the disciples, St Peter’s Antiphonary, Salzburg 1147/67 (MS. S.N.2700, p. 66z, Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek)

Illustration to the Book of Numbers, Lambeth Bible. Canterbury or St Albans, England c. 1145—55 (Lambeth Palace Library, MS. 3, folio 66 verso)

Most of the designs follow a general plan - a central rectangle with about 4 ties to a pole and 2-4 streamers. The different colours of these in some pennons above imply these sections may be made from different pieces of fabric. Several of the pennons show reinforcements where you'd expect them - on either border of the central section, where seams might be while others seem to be cut in one piece. Few of the pennons have fully fledged heraldric designs - mostly just pretty colours or the cross of god. This could be just the artist's laziness, but it seems unlikely when they have drawn designs on the pennons.

The standard from the Winchester Bible was the only one I found on this search. The picture is in a very byzantine style, so the standards may represnet byzantine practise rather than English.