I'm not sure if purple would ever have been "widely" available for
average people. Purple is a hard color to make with natural dyes.
Tyrian purple, or royal purple is made from crushing a certain kind
of sea snails (endangered now, I understand). It would have been very
expensive. On the other hand, a good red can be made from madder
and I suppose if you overdyed with woad you might get something that
looks like purple.But madder red is sort of orange, and I suspect it
would be rather muddy colored. There was also Kermes, similar to the
more modernly available cochinel(which is from south america or
mexico and not terribly period) that takes on a pink or purple tone
to the red...but this would also have been expensive.
There are lichen dyes that are very bright, but I don't know alot
about them in or out of period.
However, I totally agree that it is rather broad to say (especially
to new folks) that something was never used or not period. I think it
is more correct to say that it was not common for most of period.
Also, just because something was restricted to royalty doesn't mean
it wasn't worn. Many people were wealthy enough to just pay the fines
and wear the item anyway. I don't think I would presume to tell
someone they couldn't wear something because it was restricted. For
One, I'd have to know an awful lot about their particular time period
and location, and for another, I do think we are all here for fun and
dressing to the ninth is great fun. I am currently working on an
elizabethan gown I know my persona could never afford, with lots of
jems and gold thread embroidery. (all innocence) But how could I deny
her the dress of her dreams over one tiny detail?
I have to admit to a blue wool 12 century dress with purple hemp
fabric trim as well as gold, and silver trim, so maybe I'm not the
most objective observer? (grin)
--- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com
, "Elizabeth Walpole" <ewalpole@a...>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kat <kat@i...>
> To: SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com <SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com>
> Date: Thursday, May 29, 2003 10:34 PM
> Subject: Re: [SCA-Garb] Purple question
> >Greetings and welcome.
> >In period, yes Purple was for Royals only. Although, I believe,
> >was sometimes changed a bit and renamed so some lower nobles could
> >with it.... don't quote me on this though.
> The Purple rule may apply at certain times in certain places (I
> someone telling me that Queen Elizabeth reserved Purple for herself
> but I haven't heard of it in any other context), but to say
that 'In period
> purple was for Royals only' is pretty misleading I'm sure there
> places in period where Purple was freely available to all than
> sumptuary laws restrict it to such a tight group of people.
> Sorry to snark, it's just you hit one of my hot buttons, the
> period people always or never wore, or said, or did XYZ can be very
> misleading for a newbie (either to the SCA or to actual research
> clothing). because in almost any circumstances there is an
exception to the
> rule. One example is Cotton, some people will tell you that cotton
> period full stop the end. Whereas a better explanation would be
> clothing is extremely rare for Northern Europe during the SCA
> however if your persona is middle eastern you would be quite likely
> cotton clothing. It is impossible to cut down 1000 years of history
> continents (Maybe 4 if you include America as very, very late
period) to a
> simple statement of such and such did/didn't happen.
> Like I said I don't mean to snark at you, I'm just trying to point
> although your statement does apply in some circumstances your way of
> expressing it was a little too all encompassing.
> Sorry if this has caused offence
> Elizabeth Beaumont
> Elizabeth Walpole
> Politarchopolis, Lochac
> People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when
> is out, but when the darkness sets in ,their true beauty is
revealed only if
> there is light from within.
> Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
> The years that a woman subtracts from her age are not lost. They
> to the ages of other women.
> Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566) Attrib.