[[Thanks...I don't know why you say you doubt it will be helpful...it is
exactly what I'm looking for. What kind of width is the belt usually??]]
Not a whole lot of Mongol personas in most places, and the fittings tend
to be either horribly expensive (like the replicas Raymond's Quiet Press
makes) or extremely time-consuming/difficult to make (I still haven't
figured out how to reasonably make the enameled pewter ones I want to make
as an approximation of period enameled silver). I suppose there might be
more practical alternatives, but I haven't figured any out yet.
The belt widths, judging from extant fittings, tend to be about 1 - 1 1/2
inches, often with tapering at the end that goes through the buckle (not
the buckle end itself). The colors shown in Chinese and Persian paintings
are white (out for most Scadians) and black, but I wouldn't be surprised
if at least brown was also used (I have a theory that black in Persian
paintings doesn't necessarily mean black for belts and boots).
Most extant fittings are gold or gold-plated silver, sometimes with stones
like carnelian set into them, and vary quite a bit in style. The set I
want to reproduce is silver with flat incised animal figures and
enamelwork, and the references to it describe it as "Italianate" in style.
The belt shown on Kubilai Khan in the Liu Kuan-tao painting "Kubilai Khan
Hunting" has really large fittings that look like gold with either heavy
enameling or lots of inlaid precious stones (either is a reasonable
possibility). Dragon motifs are generally associated with Chinggis Khan's
guards and military officers. Reclining deer, a common Central Asian
motif, also appear frequently (the Golden Horde set Raymond reproduced has
a deer motif). Non-representational decoration like stones and geometric
enamelwork is also fairly common, and other motifs like eagles appear
Sashes, usually red ("sky blue" for married women, according to one
European traveller), and often embroidered with gold and/or silver threads
and ornamented with precious stones are a common alternative to belts, and
the one I've noticed most SCA Mongols go with, probably due to it being
much simpler and cheaper, as well as easier for those without
metal-casting experience (or enough money to afford Raymond's
reproductions). Judging by paintings and descriptions, it seems like
belts were most common for military and hunting activities, but not unused
elsewhere (although gifts of red-and-gold sashes are mentioned more
frequently in primary sources discussing courts).
The most useful book for documenting fittings is "The treasures of the
Golden Horde" (Sokrovishcha Zolotoi ordy), a museum catalogue published by
the Hermitage which has gorgeous photographs of many extant metal pieces.
Unfortunately, while the Mongolian and Russian texts are complete, the
English translation is pretty incomplete, including the detailed
descriptions of pieces. I'm planning on attacking it at some point, but I
need some more specialized Russian vocabulary first. I had to order this
book through interlibrary loan, and it's rather hard to track down. This
book is so great I intend to save up the $100+shipping it costs. Also, it
makes me want to learn metalworking so I can try to reproduce some of the
pieces. Absolutely amazing stuff, and not very much like modern Mongol
jewelry at all.
Online, there are
All are from Golden Horde sites. The third is the one Raymond's Quiet
Press sells replica fittings of, although he unfortunately doesn't sell
all of them and they're a bit above many people's budgets (mine included).
They are very nice, though, if one has the money.
If you'd like a bibliography of books with information on medieval Mongol
belts, a copy of my (primary and scholarly secondary source) quotes on
Mongol belts and sashes, or a few scans of paintings, let me know. Most
of the painting scans would take a while, as I haven't scanned much yet.
...and I bet that's more information than you needed. :) Hope it's
useful to someone.
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