Re: Zibelline, or 'flea furs', of 'fur pelts', etc.
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "demontsegur"
She then began to research symbolic possibilities and came up
> with the idea that the weasel family of animals tended to bearus
> fertility associations. A good number of the portraits she showed
> included children in them, which certainly does not hurt hertheory.
This would make sense to me, too. Some of the weasel family have the
ability to mate and become pregnant, and then 'hold' fertilized eggs
until she is ready for them to develop fully. If the season is
wrong, if she is injured, not finding enough food, etc. she can hold
them off for up to nine months. I can't remember what the scientific
term is for it.... perhaps delayed gestation? :)
Anyway, the reason this makes sense to me is that if a weasel/martin
were captured for a pet and gave birth a year later without exposure
to a male, fertility would definitely be associated with them if
people didn't know of this ability to hold fertilized eggs. The
weasel family isn't known for large litters, so this is why I got on
this line of thinking.
But I could just be speculating as to reasons... again.
>--- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "demontsegur"Of course, it could also just be that they thought they were cool and
> > She then began to research symbolic possibilities and came up
> > with the idea that the weasel family of animals tended to bear
> > fertility associations. A good number of the portraits she showed
> > us
> > included children in them, which certainly does not hurt her
> > theory.
there was no significance beyond simply fashion. Consider -- what was
the deep symbolic meaning and significance for early 20th century
women wearing similar furry animals as stoles? Beyond "I'm wealthy
enough to have one of these", that is?
Generally I think it is a mistake to look for symbolic meaning (or
practical use) in cases where contemporary records give us no
specific reason to think there was any symbolic meaning (or practical
use). That sort of thing is what led an earlier generation of
historians to make the apparently baseless claim that zibellini were
for the purpose of attracting fleas away from the body.
Sometimes a frivolous clothing accessory is just a frivolous clothing
Sharon L. Krossa, skrossa-ml@...
- At 8:25 PM +0000 8/1/04, demontsegur wrote regarding Tawny Sherrill's
paper given at Kalamazoo this year:
>She alsoI take it she also did not find any 16th century references that
>consulted the leading flea expert in the US (apparently there IS a
>scientist known for this) who confirmed that these furs could NOT
>have been used as a way to guide fleas away from the body, as a flea
>will always choose warm, living flesh over dead fur any day of the
suggested the people of that time thought they had anything to do
BTW, you used both <zibelline> and <zibellini> as the plural form in
your post. I've found <zibellini> at various Italian sites dealing
with furs, so I've been assuming that the <-i> ending is the correct
plural. Can you clarify which plural spelling was used by Prof.
PS Hmm, you learn something interesting every day. After doing a web
search on <zibellini> and getting thousands of hits (many in Italian)
and one for <zibelline> getting just over a hundred, looking at some
of the <zibelline> hits it seems that it is (also?) an English word,
often spelled <zibeline>, that means "<adj.> 1. of or pertaining to
the sable. --<n.> 2 the fur of the sable. 3. a thick woolen cloth
with a flattened hairy nap." (definition taken from _Webster's
Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language_)
Sharon L. Krossa, skrossa-ml@...