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RE: [Authentic_SCA] wriggle room

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  • Janis James
    Researching time for items has always been interesting but often not conclusive. For example: needlework, if we know a particular type was done in (x) century,
    Message 1 of 19 , Jul 7, 2009
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      Researching time for items has always been interesting but often
      not conclusive. For example: needlework, if we know a particular
      type was done in (x) century, we should also know that it likely
      didn't spring into use instantly, but was used and developed over
      time and place. We don't have the extant examples to show this
      so we can only surmise and use conjecture as to when it started.

      Of course we do have a few examples - like when blackwork was
      brought to England from Spain. However, we can't be absolutely
      certain how and when it actually started in Spain. We just know
      when it flourished in Spain.

      In all the research I've worked on over the years I have forced
      myself to allow a little given time at either end of the generally
      accepted time-frame to allow for this. I suspect this is true of
      many things through time other than just needlework. It would
      be nice of course if we could be absolutely certain such as with
      actual dated inventions, so I generally accept "wriggle room" unless
      it can be proven to a set date.

      Cheers, Sine







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    • neeveofredriver
      Thank you Leonor, Your answer captured the spirit of my question best. Although I am glad to have found out more about the cut-off debate. I suppose there is
      Message 2 of 19 , Jul 7, 2009
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        Thank you Leonor,
        Your answer captured the spirit of my question best. Although I am glad to have found out more about the cut-off debate. I suppose there is room to debate the end of our period because the oath taken is to 'attempt' preseventeenth century representation and sometimes borderline/fuzzy documentation is the best you can get.

        Also, I think personality has an influence on each of us and our choices of clothing, household items, etc. For myself, in my mundane life, I have eclectic tastes. I love vintage clothing as well as fresher styles. I think of myself as both ahead of my time in some ways and quite retro in others (not to mention my weekend time-travels to centuries past). This sensibility will undoubtedly carry over into the expression of my persona as well. As I mentioned in my introduction a few weeks ago, I'm an 11th century Irish woman near but not in Dublin. I might choose to don a gown just like Grandmother's because I like it. And the next day wear a chic dress I bought in port, the very cutting edge of trade-route fashion! Or perhaps combine old cuts with new cloths. Who's to say "that just wasn't done"?

        We can know by historical records and archeological finds what did exist but we can we be absolutely certain about what movers and shakers did NOT experiment with (including failures) given the general technologies and materials available to them at the time?

        So, good Gentles, what say you? How do each of you go about determining the document-ablity of your own persona, garb, artifacts and all?

        Enjoying the Creativity of our Anachronism and piecing the puzzle together with you all,
        Truly,
        Nem Aibhann Rua
        [Carrie Thomas]
      • JL Badgley
        On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 8:39 AM, ... Lots and lots of reading. And museum-going. And image viewing. I start with trying to get a picture of the timeframe I m
        Message 3 of 19 , Jul 7, 2009
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          On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 8:39 AM,
          neeveofredriver<neeveofredriver@...> wrote:
          >
          > So, good Gentles, what say you? How do each of you go about determining the
          > document-ablity of your own persona, garb, artifacts and all?
          >
          Lots and lots of reading. And museum-going. And image viewing.

          I start with trying to get a picture of the timeframe I'm going for,
          and study in order to better understand what it should look like.

          After that, I look primarily for evidence of things during that
          timeframe, though I may also look earlier.

          I generally avoid looking later unless there is a source that is
          describing earlier information, or something that shows a trend.

          For example, if I find fabric X with pattern Y before my timeframe
          (but not during), but can also see that it has survived to after my
          timeframe, then I can use the two points to make a reasonable
          assumption that the pattern continued to exist in the timeframe I'm
          interested in, barring information that would contradict this (such as
          a sumptuary law specifically prohibiting it). Likewise, if I see X
          garment, but the only construction information is post the period in
          question, I won't hesitate to use the later information to make the
          earlier garment.

          For food I often look at post-cutoff sources, but I analyze them
          critically based on earlier evidence. If you find a 1640 recipe for a
          food that is mentioned (but not otherwise described) in 1590, then
          would it not be reasonable to assume that they are the same, barring
          contrary evidence?

          So I guess what all this means is that I believe post-cutoff sources
          can be used, provided you've first done your homework regarding your
          primary time period to be able to understand whether something is
          plausible. You cannot just arbitrarily make that decision, though,
          and you can in no wise determine that X number of years after a
          particular date means it is appropriate. A 1601 painting could be
          showing clothing that just came into fashion the summer of 1601, for
          all you know, unless you've done your research.


          -E. Godric Logan
        • Cynthia J Ley
          On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 17:03:35 -0700 Janis James ... Hi all. Sorry about the earlier top post--one of my e-mail servers seems to have more
          Message 4 of 19 , Jul 7, 2009
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            On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 17:03:35 -0700 Janis James <seja02@...>
            writes:
            >
            >
            > Researching time for items has always been interesting but often
            > not conclusive. For example: needlework, if we know a particular
            > type was done in (x) century, we should also know that it likely
            > didn't spring into use instantly, but was used and developed over
            > time and place. We don't have the extant examples to show this
            > so we can only surmise and use conjecture as to when it started.

            Hi all. Sorry about the earlier top post--one of my e-mail servers seems
            to have more problems with interjecture then the other.

            > Of course we do have a few examples - like when blackwork was
            > brought to England from Spain. However, we can't be absolutely
            > certain how and when it actually started in Spain. We just know
            > when it flourished in Spain.

            And even the first statement is not entirely correct. It's reasonably
            fair to say that someone famous made it popular (Catharine of Aragon),
            but we don't really know how far back its roots go, and it seems to have
            at least some foundation in the non-representational arts of the Moors.
            All this by way of emphasizing what Sine said. :-) A lot of times all we
            have are pieces of the puzzle, and a lot of times pieces are missing.
            Enter Ye Educated Guess.


            > In all the research I've worked on over the years I have forced
            > myself to allow a little given time at either end of the generally
            > accepted time-frame to allow for this. I suspect this is true of
            > many things through time other than just needlework. It would
            > be nice of course if we could be absolutely certain such as with
            > actual dated inventions, so I generally accept "wriggle room" unless
            > it can be proven to a set date.

            And even then, there are usually antecedents in one form or another.

            Arlys


            > Cheers, Sine
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Jeff gedney
            Well, the thing is, If you can legitimately show that it is likely that a item from out of period is logically consistent with being in period, then you can
            Message 5 of 19 , Jul 7, 2009
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              Well, the thing is, If you can legitimately show that it is likely that a
              item from out of period is logically consistent with being in period, then
              you can "work the fuzzy"...
              For example if you have name reference that is a church record of a burial
              of a 44 year old in 1625, then it is logical to assume that the name was
              given in period...
              (but this is not reliable, names elide and change their usage, a name given
              at birth may change to a more modern form just by vernacular usage and the
              spelling standardization that widely took place in early modern England in
              late 16th- early 17th century.

              For my money,
              if you are making the claim that a characteristically 17th century clothing
              (like a buffecoat) is "an attempt" at PRE-seventeenth century, and
              you can't document that it is preseventeenth, you fail that standard.
              I don't care how cool you think you look in it.

              > We can know by historical records and archeological finds what did
              > exist but we can we be absolutely certain about what movers and shakers
              > did NOT experiment with (including failures) given the general
              > technologies and materials available to them at the time?

              Its functionally impossible to prove that they did NOT experiment with
              clothes and such....
              For that matter it is also impossible to prove that some genius was not
              experimenting with nuclear fission, or automotive vehicles, or antigravity.

              So as far as I am able to judge, the line has to be what we can prove that
              they DID do, not what they Might have done.

              > So, good Gentles, what say you? How do each of you go about
              > determining the document-ablity of your own persona, garb, artifacts
              > and all?

              I research, use good sources, juried, where possible, with clear
              documentation that I can trace back to originals.
              I take period iconography with a grain of salt, and prefer to have that
              backed up with textual or better yet artefactual survivals...

              THEN I decide what I am going to make.
              I don't decide what I want and then try to "justify" it to period.
              That way leads to bad scholarship.

              Capt Elias
            • bronwynmgn@aol.com
              In a message dated 7/7/2009 5:51:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time, marianne@historiaviva.org writes:
              Message 6 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                In a message dated 7/7/2009 5:51:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                marianne@... writes:

                <<Am I the only one who didn't think of the SCA cut-off date on reading
                this?
                >>

                I didn't in relation to myself, because my persona is firmly based in the
                12th century and the cut-off date is over 400 years in the future for me :-)
                I did think of the cut-off date on reading the inital post.

                <<I have certainly had this problem... I do many things just because I like
                them but I try to place most of my efforts on being Spanish from the 1470s,
                as a kind of personal challenge. Yet for many things I can't get info
                between say, 1450s and 1490s. >>

                There's not a lot of 12th century information, either. For clothing, we
                have a lot of statues and some illuminations that are more or less stylized,
                and a very few extant pieces such as coronation robes or ecclesiatical
                clothing.
                For cooking, there is one Anglo-Norman cookery collection that is close in
                time, but I'm not sure it's been published in it's entirety yet - I do have
                a photocopy of some of the recipes. Otherwise I'm limited to mostly 14th
                and 15th century sources, but I won't go further than that. I also tend to
                limit myself to Northern European sources. There's the Harpestrang cookery
                manuscript which is also 13th century, I think, and exists in several northern
                European versions (German, Norwegian I think, etc) but which is probably a
                copy of a more southerly-based text based on the ingredients used.


                Brangwayna Morgan
                Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
                Lancaster, PA
                **************Popular laptop deals plus free shipping!
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              • bronwynmgn@aol.com
                In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:28:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time, neeveofredriver@yahoo.com writes:
                Message 7 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                  In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:28:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                  neeveofredriver@... writes:

                  <<So, good Gentles, what say you? How do each of you go about determining
                  the document-ablity of your own persona, garb, artifacts and all? >>

                  For me, it's important that it be as close as I can get it to my time
                  period and country, and I like to have at least one solid point of data for what
                  I'm doing. There aren't really many for cooking, so I have to go further
                  afield for solid data points. For clothing, I have lots of data points, but
                  not many that give me a lot of detail on construction, so I need to work with
                  interpretations on those, and decide which interpretations I think are
                  accurate.


                  Brangwayna Morgan
                  Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
                  Lancaster, PA
                  **************Popular laptop deals plus free shipping!
                  (http://pr.atwola.com/promoclk/100126575x1221917659x1201411421/aol?redir=http:%2F%2Faltfarm.media
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                • bronwynmgn@aol.com
                  In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:51:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time, tatsushu@gmail.com writes:
                  Message 8 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                    In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:51:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                    tatsushu@... writes:

                    <<For food I often look at post-cutoff sources, but I analyze them
                    critically based on earlier evidence. If you find a 1640 recipe for a
                    food that is mentioned (but not otherwise described) in 1590, then
                    would it not be reasonable to assume that they are the same, barring
                    contrary evidence?>>

                    Similar yes, but quite possibly not the same. After all, we have lots of
                    contemporary manuscripts which list a recipe of the same name in each, but
                    the recipes themselves can be anything from slight variations of each other to
                    completely different. We also have evidence that a dish can be listed by
                    the same name in an earlier and a later source and have evolved significantly
                    in between. So assuming that a dish named Bukenade in one source and a
                    dish named Bukenade in another source are the same dish is a faulty premise.
                    It may be the closest you can get, but you shouldn't fool yourself that the
                    person who referred to it 50 years earlier means exactly what the person who
                    wrote it down did.

                    Not to mention the fact that some period recipes are so vague that it's
                    very possible to make entirely different dishes from the same recipe in the
                    same source. Bukenade's a good example; one recipe I have for it basically
                    says to take good meat, whatever you have, boil it with beef, and add onions
                    and spices. I've done chicken and beef, lamb and beef, and pork and beef, and
                    a variety of different spice comibinations depending on what is usually
                    used with the "other" meat I've chosen, so each result has been quite different
                    from the others.


                    Brangwayna Morgan
                    Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
                    Lancaster, PA
                    **************Popular laptop deals plus free shipping!
                    (http://pr.atwola.com/promoclk/100126575x1221917659x1201411421/aol?redir=http:%2F%2Faltfarm.media
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                  • Heather Rose Jones
                    ... My favorite example of this problem is how to interpret the Welsh clothing term pais . The word shows up as a description of a specific garment
                    Message 9 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                      On Jul 8, 2009, at 4:11 AM, bronwynmgn@... wrote:

                      > In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:51:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                      > tatsushu@... writes:
                      >
                      > <<For food I often look at post-cutoff sources, but I analyze them
                      > critically based on earlier evidence. If you find a 1640 recipe for a
                      > food that is mentioned (but not otherwise described) in 1590, then
                      > would it not be reasonable to assume that they are the same, barring
                      > contrary evidence?>>
                      >
                      > Similar yes, but quite possibly not the same. After all, we have
                      > lots of
                      > contemporary manuscripts which list a recipe of the same name in
                      > each, but
                      > the recipes themselves can be anything from slight variations of
                      > each other to
                      > completely different. We also have evidence that a dish can be
                      > listed by
                      > the same name in an earlier and a later source and have evolved
                      > significantly
                      > in between. So assuming that a dish named Bukenade in one source
                      > and a
                      > dish named Bukenade in another source are the same dish is a faulty
                      > premise.
                      >

                      My favorite example of this problem is how to interpret the Welsh
                      clothing term "pais". The word shows up as a description of a specific
                      garment continuously from the earliest written sources (the Book of
                      Aneurin) to the present day. But the specific nature of the garment
                      being referred to changes enormously over that time. Even if you had a
                      picture of a garment in century X with an arrow pointing to it saying
                      "this is a 'pais'", that wouldn't tell you what the word referred to
                      in century X-1 or X+1.

                      Tangwystyl
                    • JL Badgley
                      On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 8:45 PM, Heather Rose ... All true, but then again, this is where we get into the reasonable attempt --we get as close as we can
                      Message 10 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                        On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 8:45 PM, Heather Rose
                        Jones<heather.jones@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > On Jul 8, 2009, at 4:11 AM, bronwynmgn@... wrote:
                        >
                        >> In a message dated 7/7/2009 10:51:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                        >> tatsushu@... writes:
                        >>
                        >> <<For food I often look at post-cutoff sources, but I analyze them
                        >> critically based on earlier evidence. If you find a 1640 recipe for a
                        >> food that is mentioned (but not otherwise described) in 1590, then
                        >> would it not be reasonable to assume that they are the same, barring
                        >> contrary evidence?>>
                        >>
                        >> Similar yes, but quite possibly not the same. After all, we have
                        >> lots of
                        >> contemporary manuscripts which list a recipe of the same name in
                        >> each, but
                        >> the recipes themselves can be anything from slight variations of
                        >> each other to
                        >> completely different. We also have evidence that a dish can be
                        >> listed by
                        >> the same name in an earlier and a later source and have evolved
                        >> significantly
                        >> in between. So assuming that a dish named Bukenade in one source
                        >> and a
                        >> dish named Bukenade in another source are the same dish is a faulty
                        >> premise.
                        >>
                        >
                        > My favorite example of this problem is how to interpret the Welsh
                        > clothing term "pais". The word shows up as a description of a specific
                        > garment continuously from the earliest written sources (the Book of
                        > Aneurin) to the present day. But the specific nature of the garment
                        > being referred to changes enormously over that time. Even if you had a
                        > picture of a garment in century X with an arrow pointing to it saying
                        > "this is a 'pais'", that wouldn't tell you what the word referred to
                        > in century X-1 or X+1.

                        All true, but then again, this is where we get into the "reasonable
                        attempt"--we get as close as we can justify to the truth of the
                        matter, and don't ever try to adjudicate things in a vacuum.

                        -E. G. Logan
                      • Chris Laning
                        ... I think you have a good point here. You mention that clothing in a certain time period seems to change by decade. You know this *because* you have
                        Message 11 of 19 , Jul 8, 2009
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                          On Jul 7, 2009, at 2:50 PM, Marianne Perdomo wrote:

                          > I have certainly had this problem... I do many things just because
                          > I like
                          > them but I try to place most of my efforts on being Spanish from
                          > the 1470s,
                          > as a kind of personal challenge. Yet for many things I can't get info
                          > between say, 1450s and 1490s. Certainly there seems to be less useful
                          > paintings available from the 1470s. So I often try to at least
                          > determine if
                          > something was done before and after - in that case I'm quite happy
                          > to assume
                          > it didn't cease to be done in between. That's mostly for clothing
                          > which
                          > changes by decade, it seems, at least in details like sleeves,
                          > necklines,
                          > that sort of thing.


                          I think you have a good point here. You mention that clothing in a
                          certain time period seems to change "by decade." You know this
                          *because* you have studied the period, the clothing, the times before
                          and after, etc. in detail, and you have deduced that in *this*
                          particular case, *this* category of things (necklines, sleeves, etc.)
                          doesn't change that fast.

                          The more you know, the more plausible your educated guesses are going
                          to be.

                          Of course, ultimately how far you decide you want to stretch your
                          educated guesses is always going to be up to you. What I think is
                          important is that you *know* when you are extrapolating on the basis
                          of not enough information, and not kid yourself that your guesses are
                          on solid ground when they aren't.

                          I tend to agree with Capt. Elias -- I try to first study the
                          information to find out what people actually DID do, and then decide
                          what I want to do based on that. So far, that's always given me
                          plenty of ideas for projects I think are really cool.
                          ____________________________________________________________

                          O (Dame) Christian de Holacombe, OL - Shire of Windy Meads
                          + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
                          http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
                          ____________________________________________________________
                        • Marianne Perdomo
                          ... Actually, they do. It s very annoying! That s for 15th c. but I think it s pretty similar for 14th... Before then it s probably manageable. My impression
                          Message 12 of 19 , Jul 9, 2009
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                            2009/7/9 Chris Laning wrote:

                            >
                            > I think you have a good point here. You mention that clothing in a
                            > certain time period seems to change "by decade."


                            Actually, they do. It's very annoying! That's for 15th c. but I think it's
                            pretty similar for 14th... Before then it's probably manageable.
                            My impression from my looking around at late 16th and early 17th century
                            clothing is that it does change fairly quickly, too.

                            That said I think I am going to go ahead and make myself a dress from 10-20
                            years back, because I want something from that period. And I figured it
                            could be an old dress of my persona... But when I do wear anything
                            significantly older, or further in the future, I do so knowing that my
                            persona wouldn't have done so. Just like I don't dress like my grandmother
                            (with a retro touch, maybe, but not quite like her). I just either ignore
                            the fact or think I'm just "different" on that day. Again, this is late
                            middle ages... not sure if actually makes a difference before 1250-1300.
                            A piece of jewellery I think would be different, too, but I don't know
                            whether it's because I don't know enough of its evolution, or if it really
                            was more estable, as I suppose (hints from jewelry fans/experts welcome
                            here!).


                            > You know this
                            > *because* you have studied the period, the clothing, the times before
                            > and after, etc. in detail,


                            Exactly. I also find that sometimes you're paying attention to general dress
                            shape but you don't pay so much attention to say... neckline, or sleeve
                            width.
                            I also avoid special one-offs (things which are odd and only appear in one
                            or a very few examples).


                            > The more you know, the more plausible your educated guesses are going
                            > to be.


                            Yes, ultimately, as you say it's a line you have to draw yourself, about how
                            comfortable you are with what you've found out and what you can do. To me
                            it's all about coming closer and closer :) (within economic restraints!)

                            I tend to agree with Capt. Elias -- I try to first study the
                            > information to find out what people actually DID do, and then decide
                            > what I want to do based on that. So far, that's always given me
                            > plenty of ideas for projects I think are really cool.


                            Are you talking of extant examples? I wish I could do that! :)

                            Cheers!


                            Leonor


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