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SCA Sumptuary Laws and Customs vs. Authenticity

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  • Melissa A Barton (S)
    My primary persona is an Ilkhanid Mongol. From my recent extensive research, focusing on primary sources, I have found that throughout the Mongol Empire, two
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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      My primary persona is an Ilkhanid Mongol. From my recent extensive
      research, focusing on primary sources, I have found that throughout the
      Mongol Empire, two colors were used almost exclusively for sashes and
      belts (or at least -- any other colors used aren't really mentioned, aside
      from one mention of sky-blue silk sashes for women and a few Persian
      paintings showing black belts):

      Red, decorated with woven or embroidered gold and silver thread silk
      sashes
      White leather belts with (usually) gold belt-plaques

      This makes sense, as white and red were very important colors to the
      Mongols, indicating purity, nobility, and wealth.

      Of course, these are also the colors reserved by custom and SCA law
      respectively for squires and knights.

      Is it wrong of me to be extremely frustrated that unhistorical SCA customs
      prevents me from being as authentic as I would like? It's not as though I
      am swimming in non-SCA venues in which to dress as a Mongol. And while I
      could "legally" wear a red sash, I'd rather not deal with the flack.

      Have other people encountered instances of SCA sumptuary laws interfering
      with authenticity (I'm not talking about safety laws like for helmet
      faceplates)?

      -Qara Qulan


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeff Gedney
      IIRC, the only thing that is actually reserved to the chivalry is unadorned white/red belting. Apply some appropriate designs to the belts and they become a
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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        IIRC, the only thing that is actually reserved to the chivalry is "unadorned" white/red belting.

        Apply some appropriate designs to the belts and they become a different matter, and "legal" for you to wear.

        The Red silk sash you describe will likely be perfectly unrecognizable as a SCA regalia, but the white leather belt with gold plaques, although not specifically reserved, comes pretty durn close to how many Knights in the SCA use them.
        It is probably legal for you to use then but you'll have to field a lot of questions.

        I'd go with the red sash and not worry about it any further.

        Capt Elias

        --------------------------------------------------------------
        If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather
        wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them
        to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
        - Antoine de Saint Exupery
      • Jonathan and Rebecca Barber
        ... Unless it s written into Corpora or kingdom law, I ignore it. When people ask, I give them such a painfully detailed explanation of why it s appropriate to
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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          > Is it wrong of me to be extremely frustrated that unhistorical SCA customs
          > prevents me from being as authentic as I would like? It's not as though I
          > am swimming in non-SCA venues in which to dress as a Mongol. And while I
          > could "legally" wear a red sash, I'd rather not deal with the flack.

          Unless it's written into Corpora or kingdom law, I ignore it. When people ask, I give them such a painfully detailed explanation of why it's appropriate to the outfit, time period and persona that they generally stumlbe away dazed. ;-)

          Yes, it's frustrating. But you agreed to follow the rules when you started playing the game. I find that by following the letter of the rules and then having a vaild explanation for not following custom or suggestions it works OK.

          John Patrick
        • Jennifer / Guenievre
          ... What are the proportions of metallic to color on these? I think if you had one that had more metallic than red, it wouldn t read to the casual observer
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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            > My primary persona is an Ilkhanid Mongol. From my recent extensive
            > research, focusing on primary sources, I have found that throughout the
            > Mongol Empire, two colors were used almost exclusively for sashes and
            > belts (or at least -- any other colors used aren't really mentioned, aside
            > from one mention of sky-blue silk sashes for women and a few Persian
            > paintings showing black belts):
            >
            > Red, decorated with woven or embroidered gold and silver thread silk
            > sashes


            What are the proportions of metallic to color on these? I think if you had
            one that had more metallic than red, it wouldn't "read" to the casual
            observer as red and thus would be fine. I've seen some belts that were
            tabletwoven and such, and were half red or so, and no one gave the wearer
            any problems...


            Guenievre
          • Melissa A Barton (S)
            John Patrick wrote: [[The Red silk sash you describe will likely be perfectly unrecognizable as a SCA regalia, but the white leather belt with gold plaques,
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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              John Patrick wrote:

              [[The Red silk sash you describe will likely be perfectly unrecognizable
              as a SCA
              regalia, but the white leather belt with gold plaques, although not
              specifically
              reserved, comes pretty durn close to how many Knights in the SCA use them.
              It is probably legal for you to use then but you'll have to field a lot of
              questions.]]

              I'm not sure. My impression is that the sashes are primarily red, and
              I've noticed non-European persona knights and squires wearing sashes
              before; I'm currently less concerned with the letter of the law (or
              custom) and more with how people will perceive it. My impression is that
              most people see "red thingy around waist" and think "squire", but this may
              not be true.

              Guenievre wrote:

              [[What are the proportions of metallic to color on these? I think if you
              had
              one that had more metallic than red, it wouldn't "read" to the casual
              observer as red and thus would be fine. I've seen some belts that were
              tabletwoven and such, and were half red or so, and no one gave the wearer
              any problems...]]

              My impression is that they're more color than metallic, but unfortunately
              no extant garments or paintings of such sashes exist, so I'm going by
              descriptions in period sources. I would probably make a primarily color
              one myself, simply because it's a lot easier to acquire the materials than
              it is for a period-appropriate cloth-of-gold belt (which I really don't
              have the weaving skills for anyway), but I suppose I could always encrust
              it with semiprecious stones such that most of the fabric didn't show
              anyway, which is also period...although I unfortunately have not been able
              to figure out how the stones were attached.

              Thanks for the suggestions!

              -Qara Qulan


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jeff Gedney
              ... I ve seen a lot of people wearing sashes of various colors (not squires), including red, and only a few people have complained about being misjudged, and
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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                >I'm not sure. My impression is that the sashes are primarily red, and
                >I've noticed non-European persona knights and squires wearing sashes
                >before; I'm currently less concerned with the letter of the law (or
                >custom) and more with how people will perceive it. My impression is that
                >most people see "red thingy around waist" and think "squire", but this may
                >not be true.


                I've seen a lot of people wearing sashes of various colors (not squires), including red, and only a few people have complained about being misjudged, and those say only a few times have they been intervened by an evidently thorogoing chowderhead.

                Now as for that there is a tradition in some Kingdoms that the highly placed fencing types get white scarves they wear around the shoulder, and they give, strangly enough, red scarves to their students, but this is NOT a sash around the waist.

                be that asa it may, you can't avoid utter dunderheads in any organization, but I think that except for certain kingdoms where everything is spelled out to the Nth degree, you will be pretty safe with a red sash, especially if it is worked with metallic threads.

                You may run into a rare "stiffnecked booby" who has recieved wisdom he needs to impart, but most everybody will will rock and roll with the sash, and not think, "Ack! Pretense! Uncleeeean!"

                but yiou have to judge for yourself. I dont think you have anything to care about, you wont get kicked out or shunned for wearing a red sash in any Kingdom, nor will have a problem if you just politely say, no I am not a squire, this is what a Mongol form this place and then would have worn, wanna see my documetation.

                I have heard of a young lady who sometimes wears a white belt as a "symbol of maidenly chastity" (which it really is) and carries a photocopy of the painting she got the outfit from to show the occasional querent, and nobody bugs her or drags her up in front of a court to denounce her.

                I honestly think you're safe with the sash.
                Anybody bugs you you just refer them to me.

                Capt Elias

                --------------------------------------------------------------
                If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather
                wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them
                to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
                - Antoine de Saint Exupery
              • cathal@mindspring.com
                I honestly think you re safe with the sash. Anybody bugs you you just refer them to me. Capt Elias Or if you re down Meridies-way just refer them over to me. I
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 1, 2004
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                  I honestly think you're safe with the sash.
                  Anybody bugs you you just refer them to me.

                  Capt Elias


                  Or if you're down Meridies-way just refer them over to me.
                  I enjoy the application of the occasional come-uppance especially
                  if sumptuary laws appear in the argument...

                  Cathal.
                • cschutrick
                  ... Well, keep in mind that in both cases, the law/custom specifies unadorned . Neither of your examples is unadorned, so you re all set. And the white belt
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 2, 2004
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                    > Red, decorated with woven or embroidered gold and silver
                    > thread silk sashes White leather belts with (usually)
                    > gold belt-plaques

                    > Is it wrong of me to be extremely frustrated that
                    > unhistorical SCA customs prevents me from being as
                    > authentic as I would like?

                    Well, keep in mind that in both cases, the law/custom
                    specifies 'unadorned'. Neither of your examples is unadorned, so
                    you're all set.

                    And the white belt thing isn't *entirely* ahistorical; it's just
                    that, like many things we do, it was confined to a limited time and
                    place, and wasn't as rigid in implementation as our version. :)

                    --Jeannette
                  • Despair Bear
                    ... I could see some fallout from the use of a white belt but I don t see it happening with the use of a red belt. Squire is not a rank or title, is has no
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 2, 2004
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                      > Is it wrong of me to be extremely frustrated that
                      > unhistorical SCA customs
                      > prevents me from being as authentic as I would like?
                      > It's not as though I
                      > am swimming in non-SCA venues in which to dress as a
                      > Mongol. And while I
                      > could "legally" wear a red sash, I'd rather not deal
                      > with the flack.


                      I could see some fallout from the use of a white belt
                      but I don't see it happening with the use of a red
                      belt. Squire is not a rank or title, is has no
                      official sanction in the SCA it is only a tradition
                      held by some. In some parts of the west the red belt
                      tradition for squires is being done away with and
                      squires are wearing what ever they want.



                      Godric Of Castlemont





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                    • Maura Folsom
                      ... Both of these are decorated. The suptuary laws *and* traditions all specify *undecorated*. I fail to see a problem. Marguerie
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 2, 2004
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                        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Melissa A Barton (S)"
                        <m_barton@c...> wrote:

                        > Red, decorated with woven or embroidered gold and silver thread silk
                        > sashes
                        > White leather belts with (usually) gold belt-plaques

                        Both of these are decorated. The suptuary laws *and* traditions all
                        specify *undecorated*. I fail to see a problem.

                        Marguerie
                      • Katherine Throckmorton
                        ... From: Maura Folsom Date: Thu, 02 Sep 2004 20:47:45 -0000 To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com Subject: [Authentic_SCA] Re: SCA Sumptuary Laws and Customs
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 2, 2004
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Maura Folsom"
                          Date: Thu, 02 Sep 2004 20:47:45 -0000
                          To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [Authentic_SCA] Re: SCA Sumptuary Laws and Customs vs. Authenticity

                          --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Melissa A Barton (S)"
                          <m_barton@c...> wrote:

                          > >Red, decorated with woven or embroidered gold and silver thread silk
                          > >sashes
                          > >White leather belts with (usually) gold belt-plaques

                          >Both of these are decorated. The suptuary laws *and* traditions all
                          >specify *undecorated*. I fail to see a problem.

                          The problem is that in some Kingdoms (for example Atenveldt) peers, and to some degree the community as a whole, are very strict about guarding against *any* infrigement on the regelia of peers, especially, it seems the regelia of of knights. And over the past several years, it has become the fashion among knights to wear decorated belts. Ironically enough, this fashion is mainly seen among those knights who are most interested in authenticity. This creates a social situation where white belts of any kind, wether decorated or not are not really considered socially acceptable.

                          Things may be quite different in different kingdoms, so I suspect that wether or not the Mongol with the delimma can "get away" with a decoracted white belt depends a great deal on their kingdom. I will say though, that even in Atenveldt, where things are pretty strict, a decorated red sash dosen't have a problem.

                          my two pence,
                          Katherine
                          who vaugely remembers that years ago there was a double peer iirc a Laurel/Pelican who posted on the Rialto that if anyone hassled you for wearing a yellow or green belt you were welcome to say he was your Master, and thinks that a Knight made a similar offer.
                          Arguing with a herald is like wrestling with a pig. First you get really dirty and muddy, and then, after a while, you begin to realize the pig is enjoying himself.                                                                                                                     -Sliverwing's 54th Law of SCA Dynamics                                  
                          --
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                        • bronwynmgn@aol.com
                          In a message dated 9/2/2004 5:14:53 PM Eastern Standard Time, Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com writes:
                          Message 12 of 14 , Sep 3, 2004
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                            In a message dated 9/2/2004 5:14:53 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                            Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com writes:

                            <<I'm not sure. My impression is that the sashes are primarily red, and
                            I've noticed non-European persona knights and squires wearing sashes
                            before;>>

                            If I remember corectly, you were discussing a sash worn aroun the waist
                            instead of a belt, rather than a shoulder to hip sash. I'll assume so from here on
                            out.

                            << I'm currently less concerned with the letter of the law (or
                            custom) and more with how people will perceive it. My impression is that
                            most people see "red thingy around waist" and think "squire", but this may
                            not be true.>>

                            While most people may see it that way, in most kingdoms red for a squire's
                            belt is not a matter of law, but only of custom, whereas the white belt for
                            knights is reserved by Society law. There are some areas, parts of Atlantia for
                            examples, where squire's belts are sometimes blue due to the influence of a
                            particular household that uses that.

                            That said, if you don't make it actually scarlet, there shouldn't be a
                            problem. I've been wearing a thin belt of a red-brown shade for quite a few years.
                            The merchant who sold it to me cautioned me that some might mistake it for a
                            squire's belt, but I've only had one or two people even ask me.

                            If it's only custom, not law, and it goes against authenticity, I say go
                            ahead and be authentic, just be prepared to explain to people why you are wearing
                            what you are wearing and why it's not "against the rules".

                            Brangwayna
                          • Willie Walter
                            ... For awhile, I thought that apprentices belts were typically blue, thanks to a friend who is apprenticed to the matriarch of that same household. (At
                            Message 13 of 14 , Sep 3, 2004
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                              --- bronwynmgn@... wrote:
                              > While most people may see it that way, in most
                              > kingdoms red for a squire's
                              > belt is not a matter of law, but only of custom,
                              > whereas the white belt for
                              > knights is reserved by Society law. There are some
                              > areas, parts of Atlantia for
                              > examples, where squire's belts are sometimes blue
                              > due to the influence of a
                              > particular household that uses that.

                              For awhile, I thought that apprentices' belts were
                              typically blue, thanks to a friend who is apprenticed
                              to the matriarch of that same household. (At least,
                              I'm guessing it's the same household.) It made sense
                              to me at the time: "Her apprentice belt is blue.
                              Therefore, most-if-not-all apprentice belts--at least
                              in Atlantia--are blue." :) My friend corrected my
                              faulty assumption, telling me it's a household custom.


                              Peace,
                              Grainne ingen Lugdach
                              Shire of Roxbury Mill
                              Atlantia



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                            • Heather Murray
                              ... ceramic figurine of a Siamese in a bowl before it:: Now, he s in south central Meridies, so if you happen to be in North Meridies without him nearby, you
                              Message 14 of 14 , Sep 3, 2004
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                                cathal@... wrote:

                                > I honestly think you're safe with the sash.
                                > Anybody bugs you you just refer them to me.
                                >
                                > Capt Elias
                                >
                                >
                                > Or if you're down Meridies-way just refer them over to me.
                                > I enjoy the application of the occasional come-uppance especially
                                > if sumptuary laws appear in the argument...
                                >
                                > Cathal.


                                ::Margaret pays obeisance to the visage of Cathal, and lays a small
                                ceramic figurine of a Siamese in a bowl before it::

                                Now, he's in south central Meridies, so if you happen to be in North
                                Meridies without him nearby, you send 'em my way. I'm not as gentle as
                                some ladies when it comes to suffering the willingly ignorant, though I
                                have some sympathetic understanding of the socially inept. I'll be happy
                                to tell them my own story and viewpoint and then endeavor to show them
                                the period way to apologize.

                                Look, the fact of the matter is, the rules say what they say. If someone
                                wants to get offended by something outside the realm of those rules,
                                they will do so whether or not the facts of history back you up. In the
                                end the best path for your authenticity may be to work to change your
                                Kingdom's/Principality's/local area's viewpoint to understand that this
                                is period and doesn't violate the sumptuary laws - that it's just a
                                custom that arose from what could be some poor drunk fool's
                                interpretation of those laws to a newbie who stayed around and still
                                spouts it as Gospel. The SCA is young enough that some customs are still
                                ugly enough to need their faces changed every once in a while. You might
                                butt heads a bit with some folks, outside of those who might balk at
                                first, but then move on. With those who *must* argue about it and insist
                                on their ways (while not wearing a crown), just part ways knowing that
                                you're both right, and likely, you're both wrong as well, on some level
                                and in the other's opinion. Eventually, people will either A) accept
                                your "new" tradition, or B) decide that you're just a weirdo who insists
                                on following the law to the letter and applying your "creativeness" to
                                the "anachronism." Well, there's C), but C) can be appealed.

                                Grinning wryly,
                                Margaret Northwode
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