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RE: [SCA-Garb] The Austere & Pious Frenchwoman... [cross-posted]

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  • Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon
    Admittedly of short duration, my limited research hasn t illuminated any information about the French 12C notions of pious modesty for women. I m *finally*
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 29, 2004
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      Admittedly of short duration, my limited research hasn't illuminated any
      information about the French 12C notions of pious modesty for women.
      I'm *finally* going to fashion my own garb...

      What would a pious, practical woman wear? Among many thoughts, Cathari
      eschew'd both the notions of a crucifix & pleasures of Earth [some
      believing our existence an incarnation of Purgatory, others believing
      that self-imposed or assisted death preferable to a sinful Earthly
      existence, etc.]... but I'm at a loss to know if the everyday medieval
      person had much *choice* in her wardrobe. I have trouble believing
      someone would just start ripping out or trading their hard-earned
      clothing for something more austere.

      For example, headdresses, veils, embroidery [sounds vain to me, but
      would it be an individual choice?]... what about hair dressing?

      Any suggestions or redirections would be of great assistance.

      YiS,
      Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon
      "Cathari, but not dead yet"


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Chris Laning
      ... More likely, I d expect a convert to have given away or sold most of what she had that was wildly unsuitable (remember there was a thriving
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 29, 2004
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        At 9:16 AM -0500 11/29/04, Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon wrote:
        >What would a pious, practical woman wear? Among many thoughts, Cathari
        >eschew'd both the notions of a crucifix & pleasures of Earth... but
        >I'm at a loss to
        >know if the everyday medieval person had much *choice* in her wardrobe.
        >I have trouble believing someone would just start ripping out or trading
        >their hard-earned clothing for something more austere.

        More likely, I'd expect a convert to have given away or sold most of
        what she had that was wildly unsuitable (remember there was a
        thriving secondhand-clothing market in much of Europe...), worn out
        the rest, and replaced with more "suitable" garb as needed.

        >For example, headdresses, veils, embroidery [sounds vain to me, but
        >would it be an individual choice?]... what about hair dressing?

        Women wearing _something_ in the way of a hair covering seems to be
        one of those near-universals in European culture, so I'd certainly
        expect a respectable woman of any belief to have concealed her hair.
        At a guess, I'd say to look at illustrations of the period for ideas
        about linen veils and head-wraps.

        For clothing in general, you might get some helpful information from
        descriptions of other religious non-conformists of the time,
        especially others who made a point of regarding poverty and modesty
        as virtues. For instance, the (admittedly a few decades later) early
        Franciscans wore tunics of a wool cloth made without dye, from a
        blend of naturally white-fleeced and naturally dark-fleeced sheep
        (i.e. "black sheep", which they aren't really). Depending on the
        exact mix, such cloth (called "russet") can come out various shades
        of grayish or brownish.

        Looking for information on Fraticelli, the Pietist movement and other
        sorts of early pseudo-Protestants might also be helpful. (I'm a
        little vague on the time periods of some of these...)

        The "beguine" movement of the 13th century expected its women members
        to wear serviceable, but not extravagant clothes -- the one item that
        I happen to recall is that they were forbidden to wear gowns dyed
        black, because a "true black" is an expensive color. ("Bad,"
        off-colored and quick-fading blacks, on the other hand, are quite
        easy to dye....<g>.)

        It seems to be fairly universal for people wishing to dress "piously"
        to exclude most ornament, which would mean a minimum of decorative
        metal bits, for instance. Fortunately for you, you seem to be in a
        time period where embroidery tended to be confined to accessories and
        furnishings, and wasn't used much directly on clothing, though others
        who know more about the 12th century should be able to tell you more.
        (I can tell you that I haven't yet seen documentable embroidered
        gowns from the 13th or 14th century, though there are plenty of fancy
        fabrics for the rich.)

        I believe the _Perfecti_ among the Cathars had a fair number of rules
        about not using various kinds of animal products, but I don't know to
        what extent ordinary members would have imitated them, or exactly
        which products would have been affected. I suspect that silk, for
        instance, would have been "out," since it's a product related to
        insect reproduction, but I don't know about wool. (I'm sure that
        plant fibers such as linen were fine, but I'm left wondering how one
        keeps warm in such clothing!)

        Hope this gives you some places to start.

        >YiS,
        > Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon
        > "Cathari, but not dead yet"

        <very cute signature!>
        --
        _________________________________________________________
        O (Lady) Christian de Holacombe, a canoness of Exeter (13thc.)
        | Chris Laning <claning@...>
        + Shire of Windy Meads - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
        http://paternoster-row.org
        _________________________________________________________
      • wodeford
        ... Cathari ... believing ... medieval ... It s been a zillion years since I read it, but Leroy Ladurie s Montaillou about a Cathar village (in the Pyrenees,
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 29, 2004
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          --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon"
          <ysobel@r...> wrote:
          > What would a pious, practical woman wear? Among many thoughts,
          Cathari
          > eschew'd both the notions of a crucifix & pleasures of Earth [some
          > believing our existence an incarnation of Purgatory, others
          believing
          > that self-imposed or assisted death preferable to a sinful Earthly
          > existence, etc.]... but I'm at a loss to know if the everyday
          medieval
          > person had much *choice* in her wardrobe.

          It's been a zillion years since I read it, but Leroy
          Ladurie's "Montaillou" about a Cathar village (in the Pyrenees, I
          think), might have something.

          Jehanne de I Really Need To Retrieve My Library From Dad's Attic
          Someday
        • Katherine Throckmorton
          ... From: Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon To: SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, Ealdormere list , Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com Subject: [Authentic_SCA] RE: [SCA-Garb]
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 29, 2004
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon"
            To: SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, "Ealdormere list" , Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Authentic_SCA] RE: [SCA-Garb] The Austere & Pious Frenchwoman... [cross-posted]
            Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 09:16:12 -0500
            This is not my period, so some of what I say may not quite work for you.  The following maunderings are based largely on my own attempts to portray a sensible and modest 16th century woman of the lower gentry.

            >Admittedly of short duration, my limited research hasn't illuminated any
            >information about the French 12C notions of pious modesty for women.
            >I'm *finally* going to fashion my own garb...
            Are there any reformist preachers for your period whose sermons you can get ahold of?  Or any vitae for women saints?  Often we tend to use these sources in reverse to see what was fashionable, but it can also be interesting to use them to figure out how someone who was listening to Stubbes (or whoever) would dress.  Also, you might look for denunciations of Cathars.  Obviously the naked orgy stuff needs to be taken with a sack of salt, but some more mundane details might have more of a baisis in reality.


            >What would a pious, practical woman wear?
            I'm guessing here...but I'd say little ornamentation, darker colors, garments cut to obscure rather than call attention to the figure.  That the hair would be covered is pretty much a given for this period, but I'd go for styles of vieling that cover all of the hair, and possibly the neck as well.
            > I have trouble believing
            >someone would just start ripping out or trading their hard-earned
            >clothing for something more austere.
            On the other hand, someone who had converted to something as radical as Catharism might well do just that, to symbolize their break with their previous life.  Or if they had been a pious, modest person prior to becoming a Cathar, much of their clothing might be fairly suitible anyway.  It is also possible that a 12th century person would not find the idea of recutting or overdying a garment quite as intimidating as we might. And any new pieces would, of course be made in a suitible style, so part of the issue may be how long your persona has been a Cathar. 

            >For example, headdresses, veils, embroidery [sounds vain to me, but
            >would it be an individual choice?]... what about hair dressing?
            These are, of course, all the areas where the greatest amount of variation seems to show up.  Which makes sense, a gown is a fairly major investment, the look of a veil can be changed radically just by the way it is pinned.  My gut feeling is that modest is going to be the key here.

            my two pence,
            Katherine
            --
            _______________________________________________
            Find what you are looking for with the Lycos Yellow Pages
            http://r.lycos.com/r/yp_emailfooter/http://yellowpages.lycos.com/default.asp?SRC=lycos10
          • Tiffany Brown / Lady Teffania Tukerton
            ... There are actaully quite a few quotes 12C from churchmen about the evils of fashionable dress as worn by the ladies and gents of the court. Of course some
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 30, 2004
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              --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon"
              <ysobel@r...> wrote:
              >
              > Admittedly of short duration, my limited research hasn't illuminated any
              > information about the French 12C notions of pious modesty for women.
              > I'm *finally* going to fashion my own garb...

              There are actaully quite a few quotes 12C from churchmen about the
              evils of fashionable dress as worn by the ladies and gents of the
              court. Of course some exageration is involved, but it should tell you
              which bits of fashionable dress were most scandalous.

              Good candidates (from memory) for immodest are:
              tightly laced dresses (at the side) to show the body's shape
              uncovered heads
              excessively rich fabrics
              excessive ornamentation of everthing (shoes, belts, clothing,)
              silk chemises instead of linen
              elaborate hairstyles

              I'd wear a nice t-tunic, wide enough to obscure the body's shape a
              little (as opposed to very tight). I'm not talking about very loose,
              just a bit baggy, how many people already wear such garments. Make it
              out of a simple but sturdy wool weave in a plain colour (I believe
              grey, brown, faded black are good for clerics), not in an expensive
              dye like purple, blue or deep reds. I suspect that one could be pious
              still in a more common colour like madder red. The chemise should be
              suitable for the warmth of your climate, not trying to be sexy
              underwear, and maybe it might be a lesser grade of fabric (less
              threads per cm, and less slubbs) because that is sufficient. (most
              modern linens are a lesser grade of fabric thought).

              You might choose to eschew decoration on your tunic, but I believe you
              would only be this radical if you were extremely religous. A simple
              modest band of decoration around the neck would be quite simple
              compared to the excesses of decoration that was the fashion. (my
              opinion only). Certainly you wouldn't decorate you undertunic sleeves
              and many would.

              I think the difference in looser cut of your garment, combined with
              more concealing headwear would mark you out already as a more pious
              woman. Stopping to pray on the cannonical hours should complete the look.

              There's plenty of research to do to find the details, but the basics
              should be there.

              Teffania - impious 12C young lady

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12thcenturygarb
            • borderlands15213
              So, there *is* documentation for silk body linen, at least in 12C France? Fascinating! --Yseult ... women. ...
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 1, 2004
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                So, there *is* documentation for silk "body linen," at least in 12C
                France? Fascinating!
                --Yseult

                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Tiffany Brown / Lady Teffania
                Tukerton" <tbro3@s...> wrote:
                >
                > --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Soeur Ysobel de Montfaucon"
                > <ysobel@r...> wrote:

                > > information about the French 12C notions of pious modesty for
                women.

                >
                > There are actaully quite a few quotes 12C from churchmen about the
                > evils of fashionable dress <<<snipped>>>.
                >
                > Good candidates (from memory) for immodest are:
                <<<snipped>>>>
                > silk chemises instead of linen

                <<<snipped>>>>
              • Tiffany Brown / Lady Teffania Tukerton
                ... It s from memory, and that might be one of the ones from romances instead of sermons. Or I might be a little muddled on the specifics, and be completely
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 4, 2004
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                  --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "borderlands15213"
                  <borderlands15213@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  > So, there *is* documentation for silk "body linen," at least in 12C
                  > France? Fascinating!

                  It's from memory, and that might be one of the ones from romances
                  instead of sermons. Or I might be a little muddled on the specifics,
                  and be completely worng. At any rate, there are plenty of sermons
                  which i reccomend seeking out. I maintain that extravagences like
                  very expensive fabrics (eg silk), lacing, flowing sleeves etc would
                  have been unpious, but refuse to firmly commit to any further
                  specifics without a year to look up all the refernces (and finish off
                  my unrelated thesis first).

                  Teffania

                  (if you want to ask me where I might have read such a thing, I can
                  reccomend a few good books/articles. later when i'm not tired after a
                  feast.).
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